Skywatchers around the world are preparing for the annual Perseids meteor shower which is set to hit its peak activity tonight, Wednesday August 12th.
Viewing is weather dependent of course and clouds could crash the party for viewers in some parts of the world, however the shower will coincide with a New Moon -meaning unusually favorable conditions and darker skies.
Just how does this phenomenon occur? Well, the particles are actually remnants from Comet Swift-Tuttle which left this material long ago, and each August the earth passes through this stream of debris as it orbits the sun. As the particles enter the atmosphere, they heat the air around them causing the characteristic streak of light.
Tonight’s shower should be viewable from most of the Northern hemisphere and from as far as subtropical latitudes south of the Equator. The time to watch will range from Aug 12th 23:00 local time wherever you are, until early morning on August 13th. Experts say that the prime viewing hours will be after midnight and into the early hours of the morning, so for the best show, be prepared to stay up late.