The Perseids enjoy stargazers every year, but this year's meteor shower could be one of the best.

They & # 39; re just dust spots – really crumbs – from comet Swift-Tuttle, but when burned as they plunge into the earth's atmosphere every August, they are called Perseids.

The needle on this year's Perseid meteor shower is expected to hit "great" with the highlight of this weekend. Unlike last year, when the moon's headlamp throttled the view of meteors, the moon will show up just in time for a dazzling screen on a black, velvety sky.

Scientists predict 70 to 90 meteors per hour advance peak early Sunday and Monday.

"This year is just great all night to see the Perseids," said Bob Bonadurer, director of the planetarium of the Milwaukee Public Museum in Wisconsin. "This is the first time in several years that the Perseid meteor shower coincides with a new moon," when the night sky is darkest.

While the meteors are seen almost every night for any patient looking up long, the Perseids are considered the most popular meteor shower of the year because they take place in the northern hemisphere in summer, where people do not mind to sit on a blanket or a lounger for an hour or two.

Unfortunately the weather For watching meteorites in Delaware this weekend should not be ideal. The National Weather Service predicted heavy rain on Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Wilmington, with heavy rain every night.

However, when the sky ever becomes visible, Bonadurer recommends early morning vision, because as the sun rises, you will see in the direction of Earth's orbit. He compares it to looking through the windshield of the earth as a car drives down a highway. Meteors are like beetles squirting against the windscreen as the planet moves head-on through the meteorite debris.

Every August, the earth passes the trail of the debris of comet Swift-Tuttle and the dusty sand or gravel that flies 37 miles per second falls on this pale blue marble. When they turn into fireballs or grazing points in the sky, they're actually pretty close to the earth, Bonadurer said.


View Thumbnails

Show Captions