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The annual Perseid meteor shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which every year brings up to 100 meteors per hour blazing fiery streaks across the sky as the Earth passes through the dust trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

The legendary Perseid meteor shower will peak on the mornings of August 12 and 13, 2009.
You could see up to one meteor a minute. The show should continue for at least a week.
If you’re serious about trying to see some Perseids, you should avoid city lights. A wide open area – a field or a lonely country road – can work well. If you’re watching between midnight and dawn, the meteors will appear in all parts of the sky. Watch with friend, and try facing in different directions so that if someone sees a meteor, that person can call out meteor’ to the rest.
The evening hours don’t tend to be as good for the Perseids, but in 2009 the evenings have the advantage of being without a moon. So evening viewing on August 11 and 12 might be worthwhile as well.
The Perseid meteors are named for the constellation Perseus the Hero. If you trace the paths of the meteors backwards, they seem to radiate from this constellation.
Meteors are also called ‘shooting stars,’ but they have nothing to do with actual stars.

Instead, they start out as bits of dust left behind in space by a comet. The Perseid meteor shower peaks annually at this time of year, as our planet Earth passes through the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Even though this comet is now moving in the outer solar system, the stream of rubble trailing Swift-Tuttle extends for hundreds of millions of kilometers in space. For several weeks from late July to mid-August, debris left behind by this comet slams into Earth’s atmosphere. The fragments vaporize as they fall through our atmosphere, and the result is the Perseid meteor shower.

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