Meteor shower: Perseids peak this weekend

Meteor shower: Perseids peak this weekend
"This image is an aggregate of three hours of meteors taken at Trillium Lake between midnight and 3 a.m., Aug. 13, 2010," YouNews reporter rowdey wrote.

EUGENE, Ore. - With clear skies in the forecast and the moon waning to a slender crescent by this weekend, conditions will be prime for the annual Perseids meteor shower.

The showers peak the night of Aug. 11 and the morning of Aug. 12, with as many as 50 to 100 meteors per hour streaking across the night sky, although as many as 14 per hour were recorded earlier this week.

The meteors may be visible now in lesser concentrations, but the prime conditions are coming up this weekend.

"The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn," according to EarthSky.com.

NASA plans a live chat online Aug. 11-12 with astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The chat experts will be available to answer questions between the hours of 8 p.m. - midnight PDT Aug. 11 (9 p.m. to 1 a.m. MDT, Aug. 11-12).

The Perseids originate from the constellation Perseus but should be visible all over the night sky as the shower intensifies.

"The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years," according to NASA. "Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust -- most over 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere."