Hoping to see the Perseids tonight?

Comet 109P  Swift-Tuttle completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years as illustrated above in the graphic from Teaching Stars. And according to Siegel its orbit is no great mystery to scientists who've already determined where it will be for upwar

The annual shower takes placed every July and August as the Earth passes debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet.

The meteors, mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, burn up as they hit the atmosphere at 58 kilometres (36 miles) per second to produce a shooting stream of light in the sky. It's also when the Earth will be the most within the stream of Swift-Tuttle.

The comet last passed by Earth in 1992 and will swing by again in 2126. Still, the chance to see at least one meteor every other minute is pretty cool, so find some time Saturday night or Sunday morning to suss it out.

Because the density of the dust cloud varies, the meteors will not be evenly spaced out.

The problem is, this year's peak night for the meteor shower will coincide with a almost full moon.

Hundreds of the meteors are expected to be visible from across the world, weather depending. Experts say that next year looks to be better because the meteor shower will coincide will a new moon.

The greatest numbers of meteors will be between midnight and just before dawn on the mornings of August 11-13. However, the meteors will streak across the sky in all directions, so it doesn't really matter.

The peak time for Perseid watching will be Saturday night and before dawn on Sunday, but the meteors may already be making an appearance. Tonight between 9 pm and the early hours of tomorrow are when the best of the showers can be seen.

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend.

If you do miss the Perseids this year, the next big meteor show will be the Leonids in November.

The greatest meteor shower in US history occurred with the Leonids on November 12, 1833, with 20 to 30 meteors reported per second.

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