It's that time again – the time when night skies are ablaze with nature's fireworks, better known as the Perseid Meteor Shower.
For the past 2,000 years, debris from the Swift-Tuttle Comet has been raining debris visible to the naked eye in the nighttime sky; sometimes 100 or more meteors per hour are spotted, reported the International Business Times.
Peak viewing times this year fall on Aug. 12-13. But because it coincides with a full moon, the 100 or more meteors normally visible will dwindle to only 20 to 30.
"I think people will be disappointed because a full moon acts like light pollution, even in a rural sky," retired biology professor Tom McCague told The Chicago Sun-Times.
Nevertheless, die-hard fans of the annual display need not despair. As it turns out there are some windows of opportunity in the pre-dawn hours before peak time when the moon has set and the sky is at its darkest, according to EarthSky.org.
The best time to view the shows on any date is from about 2 a.m. until dawn. Look for a moon shadow that will help you see the show. Viewers willing to brave the pre-dawn darkness could be in for a treat: Perseid meteors tend to be fast and bright and sometimes leave lingering trains, reported the International Business Times.
While viewable all over the night sky, the best viewing opportunities of Perseid meteors will be across the northern hemisphere, according to NASA.
If you want to learn more about the showers, NASA will hold a live chat with astronomer Bill Cook and his team from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center starting at 11 p.m. EDT Friday. The event will feature a call-in Q-and-A as well as a live video/audio feed of the Perseid shower.
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