Prolific meteor shower lights up the sky this weekend
It's going to be another fantastic weekend for star gazers.
The annual Perseid Meteor Shower will be putting on a phenomenal display overhead Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Western University Physics and Astronomy professor Jan Cami explains this is one of the most prolific showers.
"Typically this shower produces somewhere from 50 - 75 meteors per hour near the peak, and that's a lot more than a couple of other meteor showers that maybe produce 5 or 10 meteors per hour."
A meteor shower is caused when a comet passing close to the sun is heated, breaking off small pieces into a trail. The Earth than crosses the path of the comet and picks up those bits of debris which then burn up in the atmosphere, becoming the meteors we see in the sky. Cami says the comet connected to the Perseid meteor shower is known as Swift-Tuttle.
When it comes to watching the meteor shower, Cami advices against dusting off the telescope because you will only see a small portion of the sky and risk missing some of the show.
"So the best way to enjoy a meteor shower is to just find a dark spot with a clear sky, take your comfy lawn chair or an air bed or something and just lay down and look up. You don't even need to pick a specific direction."
Thanks to the new moon tomorrow night, it will be a fantastic day to take in the sight.
"There will be no disturbing moonlight and so that means if you're out in a dark spot you will actually be able to see all these faint meteors streaking by as well, so that makes it particularly interesting to look at this meteor shower this year."
Cami says if you want to wish upon a star, this is the weekend to do it.
"Make sure you have a very long wish list this time, because you will see a lot of meteors if you are at a dark spot."
Bruce Timms – St Cath Regional Councillor