NIU STEM Café to host Perseid meteor shower viewing

Weekend meteor shower to follow tonight’s lunar eclipse

If you're looking to catch sight of the Perseid meteor shower in MI, your best chance is Saturday night, according to Raymond Bullock, program presenter at the Cranbrook Institute of Science's Acheson Planetarium.

The window for this year's shower began on July 17, but the meteors are expected to be most frequent from Friday through Sunday. While the largest meteors of Perseid - fireballs - entered the Earth's atmosphere, can be seen not only at night but during the day. With up to 200 meteors recorded per hour, scientists called 2016's shower an outburst.

Swift-Tuttle itself is a periodic comet with an orbital period of 133 years. This means that the greatest amount of meteors will appear on this date; however, you'll be able to see them in high frequency many days prior to it and after. These meteors are actually specks of rock that have broken off Comet Swift-Tuttle and continued to orbit the Sun until they vaporize in Earth's atmosphere.

The Perseid meteor shower usually has a very good following, because it is particularly visible in the night sky. Records of the meteor shower date back nearly 2,000 years.

If you're from Detroit or another big city, we suggest you go outside of town! It can be seen every year when Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris.

The Perseids radiant, to the northeast at midnight on August 12-13, 2017.

Meteors - colloquially referred to as shooting stars - will be recognised by the untrained eye as thin streaks of light that dart fleetingly across the sky; blink, and you miss them. The best thing to do is to go outside on the evenings before or after the peak on August 12, give your eyes about 45 minutes to adjust to the darkness, lie down, and look straight up into the sky.

The best way to experience the celestial show is to get away from light pollution - and Northern Utah now has two dark sky parks for people to visit.

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