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How to view the Perseid meteor shower peaking this week

This year, the Perseid meteor shower coincides with the August full moon.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Perseid meteor shower peaks this Thursday and Friday. The Perseids are normally one of the best meteor showers of the year. 

On a normal year, the meteor shower can produce around 100 meteors per hour. However, this year – one pesky factor will limit visibility for the show on August 11 and 12: the August full moon.

The full moon peaks Thursday at 9:35 p.m., which puts it on the same night as the meteor shower. Moonlight will not completely eliminate viewing opportunities but will viewing trickier than usual.

How to view the Perseid meteor shower

Dr. Matthew Whitehouse, the planetary manager at the South Carolina State Museum, recommends going to the darkest location you can find, sitting back, and relaxing.

He says the best viewing time is just after midnight. He suggests viewing to the north away from any light pollution. No special equipment is needed to view the Perseid meteor shower.

 🌩️ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. 🎥

What causes the Perseid meteor shower?

While the Perseid meteor shower radiates from the Perseus constellation in the northeastern sky, it's not the same source as the constellation. The Perseids are triggered by the Earth passing through bits of ice and rock left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

According to NASA, when you sit back and watch any meteor shower – you’re actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up and burn up as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. 

This causes the bright bursts of light streaking seen across the night sky at 37 miles per second.

Contact Brittany Van Voorhees at bvanvoorhe@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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