Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Science | By Patricia Jimenez

Night sky festival this weekend at Shenandoah National Park

Night sky festival this weekend at Shenandoah National Park

The most popular shower of the year is here, and we don't mean the familiar drizzle. This annual occurrence is just one of the many cosmic phenomenon that we've seen this year (so far).

This year is an especially good one for watching the Perseid shower as the moon will be in its least visible phase so its light won't be dominating the sky.

This year's meteor viewing arrived with a good forecast.

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Gianluca Masi, director of the Italy-based Virtual Telescope Project, told the Perseid shower is something no astronomer would want to miss. 60 to 100 meteors are expected to be visible every hour. The ice and dust from that field then burn up in our atmosphere, creating the meteor shower. The name comes from fact that the meteors appear to shoot out from the Perseus constellation.

According to NASA and, Earth will pass through the thick of debris ar around 9 p.m. EST Sunday, meaning that night and into the morning hours of August 13, promise to produce the best show for North America.

According to information on the NASA website, the Perseids - which are visible annually in July and August - are mostly small bits of grit that were expelled from a comet named Swift-Tuttle and continue to follow this comet's orbit as they slowly disperse. To get the best view, NASA suggests you steer clear of bright city lights and allow 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

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-If you plan on capturing them on camera, don't forget to lower the shutter speed! If you're on the West Coast, be aware that, as AccuWeather points out, the wildfires may make the meteors harder to see.

The peak viewing time will be Sunday at around midnight.

Find a spot where you can see the sky with as little obstruction as possible, and set up blankets or lawn chairs by 9 p.m. or so.

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