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Planning for the weekend's Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Night 2

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- If Mother Nature cooperates, we’ll be treated to quite the show in the sky this weekend!

And, if everything comes together just right, this year’s show may be more impressive than normal.

Each year, Earth passes through the dust that the Comet Swift-Tuttle left behind. The last time the comet passed within eye sight of Earth was in 1992. Despite this, the comet left behind a trail of dust that the Earth passes through each year, around this time. This dust, when entering our atmosphere, burns up and creates the meteors you see during the shower.

Each year, the Perseid is one of the most spectacular shows of the year. Some years, the shower produces up to 200 meteors per hour! This year, calculations point to somewhere between sixty to eighty meteors per hour. Still, an impressive show!

Viewing of this year’s show may be aided by the fact that the moon will be in a crescent. The lack of light given off by a bigger moon will help sky watchers see more meteors.

There is a fly in the ointment, so to speak… Our forecast. We’re watching our rain chances starting to increase this weekend. Saturday afternoon will feature scattered showers and storms. That trend continues Sunday and Monday.

The show itself will peak in the overnight hours (around 2AM each night) on Sunday Morning and Monday Morning.

Saturday Night into Sunday morning, expect clouds to be scattered around. Not a widespread deck of thick cloud-cover, but we will have some cloud-cover blocking visibilities for some. We’ll also be watching a few scattered showers dying off from earlier in the afternoon. Sunday Night into Monday Morning looks to be just a little better. Rain chances are better for both Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon, but models are hinting at perhaps a lull in the action Sunday night into Monday morning.

Right now, we’ll give the better viewing to Sunday night into Monday Morning. Still not great, but we do think night 2 will be better than Saturday Night into Sunday Morning, when the extra clouds have earned Night 1 a “ok” on our scale.

This forecast is subject to change, so keep checking back for updates. One thing that won’t change are the steps you can take to improve your viewing, if the weather cooperates, that is…. Step 1: Get away from the city. The extra light makes it more difficult to view the show. Step 2. Avoid using a telescope. As weird as it sounds, you can actually see more meteors with the naked eye than you can with a telescope. Finally, be patient! The meteors will not appear all it once. They’ll be spread out over the night. Good things come to those that wait!

Enjoy the show!

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