How to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in the Northwest this weekend

Perseid meteor activity 2013 in Ontario Canada

The showers are active from July 14 to Aug. 24, but peaks in mid-August.

This year it will be even more special - the moon won't be spoiling the view. Nope! Although the peaks are the best times (as long as there's no moonlight), annual meteor showers typically last weeks, not days... building up gradually and then falling off rapidly.

What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Since the Perseids always show up in August, they often coincide with warm summer nights - flawless weather for viewing if you can avoid rain or clouds and get to a dark spot.

According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the shower should feature 60 to 70 meteors per hour at its peak.

If people know where Cassiopeia - a W-shaped constellation in the northeast sky - is located, they can find the Perseid meteors just below it beginning about 11 p.m. Saturday night. That means the meteors' fireballs and tails should look spectacular on a practically moonless night.

If you want a better view by getting away from light pollution, there will be a Night Walk 8-10 p.m. Saturday at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell, where its $3 per vehicle. They aren't very bright, so you have to get out of the city lights to see them.

Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.

When the "radiant" is highest in the sky, we'll see the most meteors.

You can watch the meteor shower on the Virtual Telescope Project's website starting from August 12.

Heading out to a dark spot is the best plan of action, but stargazers should allow around 20 minutes for their eyes to become accustomed to the dark. "What happens over time is you get the comet and also this huge debris field which exists spread out along the entire orbit", Twarog said. This creates the meteor shower, or the appearance of "shooting stars".

This year's shower will be putting on its best display for those in Europe, but as it's peak last so long, from the 11th to 12th, it should also put on a spectacular display for the USA and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Scientists from NASA also said that camping out in the country can triple the amount of visible meteors.

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