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article imagePerseid meteor shower to put on spectacular show this week

By Lynn Curwin     Aug 9, 2010 in Science
Nature will be putting on a spectacular show this month, when the Perseid meteor shower takes place. This year’s show could be especially impressive because of almost perfect viewing conditions.
The annual meteor shower is one of the strongest of the year.
“They come to a climax on the night of 12–13 August – a Thursday night–Friday morning,” states The Society for Popular Astronomy web site. “This will be very a good year to look for them, because moonlight will not drown them out as it can do in other years – the Moon is just a crescent setting in the early evening.”
Meteors maybe be visible as often as once a minute, with the best viewing times beginning late in the evening.
The meteor shower takes place when the Earth travels through the debris left from a comet.
“Millions of these dust particles collide with the Earth's atmosphere and we see a streak of light in the sky as they "burn up",” explains The Society for Popular Astronomy. “They are called the Perseids because, if you trace back their paths, they appear to come from the direction of a star pattern called Perseus.”
The meteor streaks, which are about the size of a grain of sand, burn up in the upper atmosphere.
The Telegraph reported that Earth has already entered the outer regions of the stream of meteoroids, and some people have already reported sightings.
The Society for Popular Astronomy recommends that anyone interested in photographing the show will need to set their camera to high sensitivity because the meteors are so fast.
“Keep taking 30-second frames to stand a good chance of recording one,” they suggest.
It is best to view the show from an area where there are as few lights as possible.
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