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Aug 9, 2016 3:00 PM

Joe Knows: Perseids meteor shower could create 150-200 shooting stars per hour in NH

You may want to make plans to stay up late or set the early morning alarm this week.

The Perseids meteor showers are here and they promise to be one of the most spectacular displays in more than a decade — weather permitting, of course.

The Perseids are known for their fast and bright meteors. They show up every year in August when Earth ventures through trails of debris left behind by an ancient comet.

This year, Earth may be in for a closer encounter than usual. Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double-normal rates, including a peak late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Under perfect conditions, we could see up to 150-200 shooting stars per hour!

Every Perseid meteor is a tiny piece of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years. Each swing through the inner-solar system can leave trillions of small particles in its wake. When Earth crosses paths with the comet’s debris, specks of comet-stuff hit Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate in flashes of light we like to call shooting stars.

The best way to see this Meteor Shower is to go outside between midnight and dawn on Friday morning. Find a dark place away from light pollution. Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Lie on your back and look straight up. Be comfortable, still and patient.

Make sure to look North, in the general direction of the Crescent Moon, which lies between Jupiter and Venus.

If you miss it, don’t’ worry. The meteor shower will continue to rage on right through Aug. 24.

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