How to catch the Perseid meteor shower starting Wednesday night

Perseid Meteor Shower 2018

As the night nears dawn, Cooke says viewers can expect to see a meteor every minute or so, which is about standard for the Perseids. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year's Perseid meteors.

"The Perseid meteor shower is the best of the year", said Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This year's show is predicted to be an "average" show by Perseid standards, with as many as 50-60 meteors per hour at peak.

The peak nights for this year's shower will be from August 11 to 12 and August 12 to 13, with more than 100 meteors visible per hour, according to Gary Boyle, an Ottawa-based astronomer. The shower begins to peak on Friday, and the busiest stretch and the best viewing, according to NASA, will be from midnight Sunday through the predawn hours of Monday.

Although the shower peaks on August 12, you'll be able to see a good deal of shooting stars all weekend and into Monday.

Cooke says if you plan on watching the show, just relax, look up and enjoy the meteor show.

If you want a better view by getting away from light pollution, there will be a Night Walk 8-10 p.m. Saturday at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell, where its $3 per vehicle.

The Perseid shower is named after the constellation of Perseus. "Comets and asteroids leave tiny bits of themselves in the orbital path that they take around the sun". Jupiter, Saturn and, last but not least, Mars will follow, sweeping in the east at about 11 p.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. respectively.

In August 2016, the shower produced about 150 meteors an hour and in 2009, the estimated peak was about 173 but some of the fainter meteors could have been washed out by Moonlight.

Meteors streak across the night sky during the Orionid meteor shower on October 23, 2016.

You won't need any special equipment to catch the shower, either.

This weekend's show is expected to be particularly spectacular.

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