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How to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in the Northwest

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The Perseid meteor shower, which is expected to peak after midnight on August 11, will send hundreds of debris particles from the Swift-Tuttle comet through the sky. These interactions create bursts of light when the small pieces dissolve into our atmosphere, creating the perseid meteors you see! As many as 90-100 meteors per hour are possible at the peak late tonight, but if the astronomical conditions are just right meteor rates could be up to 200 per hour.

The last Perseid outburst happened in 2009, according to NASA. That's double the usual rate, though some dispute whether this year's Perseids will be particularly special.

STARGAZERS will have their fingers crossed for clear skies tonight ahead of the Perseid meteor shower. The best time to go out will be after midnight Friday.

The debris made up of tiny bits the size of grains of sand, hits the earth's atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour and burns at temperatures that can reach 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

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"The meteors you'll see this year are from comet flybys that occurred hundreds if not thousands of years ago", said Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office.

Never watched the Perseid meteor shower?

An August tradition, the Perseids are so named because the meteors appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, the Medusa-killing hero of Greek mythology. This year's shower is expected to be "one of the best potential meteor viewing opportunities this year", according to NASA.

The Perseids, as you well know, are the result of ice dust left in space by the passing of Comet Swift-Tuttle - which orbits the sun about every 133 years. Allow your eyes to adjust to the dark for about 30 to 45 minutes and then gaze skyward in a northeasterly direction.

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