Perseid meteor shower peaks August 12th

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HARRISONBURG, Va (WHSV) — Monday night is the peak of one of the best annual meteor showers.

Typically it can produce over 50-75 meteors per hour. However this year it won't be quite as extravagant.

The peak of the meteor shower is coinciding with the almost full moon. This extra brightness in the sky will lead to less than stellar viewing conditions this year.

Even though the peak is Monday, it might be better to try to catch a few meteors in the days leading up to peak.

The Perseid meteors are smaller pieces, or debris, of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which was named after the astronomers who discovered it. When the debris hits the Earth's atmosphere, it's heated up and produces the light we see as "shooting stars."

The best time to view the Perseids would be after midnight each night, as that is when the greatest number of meteors will be visible. However since the peak falls in line with an almost full moon, you might not want to push your luck at getting up really early for a view.

You can still sit out on a clear night this weekend, let your eyes adjust to the darkness, and try to catch a few meteors.

Next year, 2020 should provide for some better viewing for the Perseids.

How can you view this meteor shower? It is a common misconception that you need to look at a specific area to see meteors. However, they will be visible in all areas of the sky. Get away from artificial lights and try to get as much of the sky in your view as possible; that way, you have the best chance at seeing them. The most important part is to allow time for your eyes to adjust to the night-time sky.