This week’s sky show is supposed to be fantastic

Forget Facebook, and forget YouTube. The best show this week is in the sky.

Even the moon is cooperating. The lunar body is approaching new moon, and it rises around 2 a.m. So there will not be a lot of lunar light in the sky to detract from the flashes of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

The astronomical Web site says that the meteors will be coming from the north northeast anywhere from 5 degrees to 39 degrees above the horizon. The Web site is updated with exact coordinates each day.

The Royal Astronomical Society reports that the maximum number of meteors will be from Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. The meteors, remnants of  Comet Swift-Tuttle, can be seen between July 17 to August 24 each year, but many nights there are just a few meteors an hour, the society notes.

During maximum periods there may be hundreds of meteors an hour, each perhaps the size of a grain of sand, the society said.

The shower gets its name because the meteors seem to come from constellation Perseus.

Amateur astronomers might be tempted to set up elaborate gear to capture striking photos of meteors. But the Royal Society advises those just interested in a sky show tofireball081015 “wrap up well and set up a reclining chair to allow you to look up at the sky in comfort.” And away from the city lights. Hot chocolate would seem to be obligatory.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration warns against using binoculars because they limit the amount of sky a viewer can see at one time. The space agency reports that the meteors are moving at about 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second.


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