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Local spots to watch the Perseid's meteor shower this weekend

12 August 2017

The upcoming Total Solar Eclipse and the Perseid meteor shower are set to occur this month. Second, we'll have a bright moon in the sky during the time to watch, so moonlight will wash out the fainter meteors. The best chance to see a shower is north of M-59, although all of us could see one. The moon will be about three-quarters full then.

The Perseid meteors are debris from comet Swift-Tuttle, which circles the sun every 130 years. This weekend in the Bitterroot Valley (and the rest of Western Montana), that is also the time when the forest fire smoke settles in the valleys for unsafe air quality levels and it's the time the moon is high in the sky, "washing out" numerous dimmer meteor trails.

Cooke says, "A meteor every couple of minutes is good and certainly [makes it] worth going outside to look, but it is hardly the 'brightest shower in human history, '" Cooke said.

Comet 109P  Swift-Tuttle completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years as illustrated above in the graphic from Teaching Stars. And according to Siegel its orbit is no great mystery to scientists who've already determined where it will be for upwar
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Our planet actually moves through that dusty detritus for about five weeks, until August 24, but the peak for visible meteors starts at about 10 a.m. on Saturday (August 12) and continues for about two days, with a fair number expected to be visible (weather permitting) on Friday night/Saturday morning as well. Overall, the better viewing will be Saturday night with a clear sky. Unlike many other meteor showers, they also take place in the warmth of summer, and over an extended period of time, allowing people the opportunity to relax and watch them without worrying about hypothermia. "This bright moon will obliterate all but the brightest Perseid meteors". The Perseids are one of the most popular meteor showers each year, occuring when Earth moves through the path of comet Swift-Tuttle from Jul. 17 through August 24, with the actual peak at 1 p.m. August 12. Several sources include the added imperative that, regardless of your age, it is probably the last chance to see anything that even comes close, meteor-wise. "From the direction and speed of the glowing meteoroid, its orbit in space was calculated".

Each shooting star is a piece of comet dust, burning up from friction as it hits Earth's atmosphere.

She also suggests downloading a free astronomy app - Celestron SkyPortal is her favorite - in order to locate the constellation Perseus, where the Perseids appear to originate from.

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Local spots to watch the Perseid's meteor shower this weekend