Perseids to dazzle the Peace Region sky tonight

A Perseid meteor visible in the night sky to the right of the Milky Way. Photo by Brocken Inaglory/Wikipedia.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It’s that time of year again: amateur and professional astronomers, as well as anyone wanting to make a wish, will be directing their gaze skyward tonight to take in the Perseid meteor shower.

The meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth’s orbit enters the debris field of Comet Swift-Tuttle every August. The shower gets its name from the constellation of Perseus, which will be located in the northeastern sky over the Energetic City tonight.

While the recurrence of the meteor shower is nothing new, the solar system’s largest planets will be adding a new twist to tonight’s show. The gravitational influence of both Jupiter and Saturn passing through the comet’s debris field is set to cause an “outburst” of the meteoer shower. That means that up to 200 shooting stars could be visible in the night sky over the Peace Region. According to CBC News, the last such outburst during the Perseids happened in 2009.

The skies over the Peace Region are some of the best to view the shower due to relative lack of light pollution, but there are still some pointers to maximize your viewing:

  1. The best time to view the meteors will be between 3:00 a.m. and dawn tomorrow, when the Moon has set.
  2. Give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness by switching off lights or driving out to the countryside.
  3. The best landmark constellation to find Perseus is Cassiopeia, which is makes an asymmetrical ‘W’ shape in the northern sky.

The meteor shower is set to peak after 10:00 this evening.

With files from CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/perseid-meteor-shower-1.3699395 

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