Perseid meteor shower peaks Saturday night
The Perseid meteor shower peaks on Saturday night through Sunday morning, and this year's shower may have 100 shooting stars per hour.
Seattle Times staff reporter
NASA live chat on Perseids:Stay up all night and geek out with the stars.
Online: On Saturday night, Bill Cooke and his team at the Marshall Space Flight Center will take your questions about the shower in an "Up all Night" live chat. To join, go to www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/perseids_2012.html and log in.
The chat will go from 8 p.m. to midnight on the West Coast.
Pack up the tent Saturday and head for the mountains, where the annual Perseid meteor shower promises to be resplendent overhead.
The Perseid meteor shower peaks on Saturday night through Sunday morning, and this year's shower promises to be spectacular, with as many as 100 shooting stars per hour, and fireballs visible in the night sky, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reports.
A waning crescent moon and some clouds in the forecast may dim the viewing, but it's a shower definitely worth a look.
The Perseids are one of mankind's oldest friends, observed for at least 2,000 years, and particularly well seen in the Northern Hemisphere. They are the product of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which zips around the sun once every 133 years.
As Earth passes through the cloud of the comet's dust each year in August, we get the spectacular show of bits of ice and dust — most more than 1,000 years old — burning up in our atmosphere. Combined with summer weather, it's always one of the best meteor showers of the year.
The shower can be seen all over the sky — look for those dazzling fast streaks — but will be radiating from the direction of the constellation Perseus from which the shower takes its name.
For best viewing, head out of town to the velvety dark skies of the mountains and savor a last bit of summer.
Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @lyndavmapes.