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Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 to Light Up the Sky

This weekend's biggest show is in the sky.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 to Light Up the Sky


Earlier this week, the big news was on Mars as the world watched the  speed through that planet’s thin atmosphere at 13,000 mph, before being lowered down to Red Planet's surface.

This weekend, the show is in our very own sky.

The Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 hits its stride this weekend, late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. And what stride it will be: according to NASA, expect up to 100 meteors per hour. As an extra bonus, a waning crescent moon means that moonlight won’t completely overwhelm the meteors as they shoot across the sky.

Where do you plan to go to watch the Perseids? Let us know in the comments.

Like all meteor showers, the Perseid shower is named after the constellation that the meteors appear to originate from, in this case, Perseus.

The shower, of course, has nothing to do with Perseus, but it will look like the meteors are coming from the constellation because the Earth is moving toward it at this time of year.

The incredible sky show is, instead, the result of the Earth’s orbit through a cloud of debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

And since the entire Earth is sweeping through the icy, dusty debris, the meteors can be seen all over the sky, though all meteors that are a part of the shower can be traced back to the constellation.

Lucky for us, according to NASA, the best views will be in the northern hemisphere. 

If you plan to stay up and watch the awesome spectacle – these tips from Space.com:

If you don't see any meteors at first, be patient. This is a  meteor shower, not a meteor storm. There will be a lot more meteors than you would see on a normal night, but they will still only come at random intervals, perhaps 20 or 30 in an hour.

When you do see a meteor, it will likely be very fast and at the edge of your field of vision. You may even doubt that what you saw was real. But, when you do see something, watch that area more closely, as two or three meteors often come in groups down the same track.

The best advice, however, may be that which is referred to simply as an old meteor-watcher’s motto:

You might see a lot or you might not see many, but if you stay in the house, you won’t see any.

If you're interested in this story, here are a few others:

Editor's Note: , , and contributed to this article.

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