Officials hope haze won't hamper viewing of weekend meteor shower


This weekend (August 12-13th) marks the peak period to view the Perseids across all of North America.

While you might be able to see some flares wherever you are, your best bet for spotting meteors in Baton Rouge will be at the Highland Road Park Observatory this Sunday. Be sure to check your local weather forecast. "You can look anywhere you want to - even directly overhead".

There is no need for a telescope or binoculars to view the meteors. Perseids are our favorites, as it produces about 100 meteors per hour, a phenomenon called high zenithal hourly rate (ZHR).

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Stargazers are hoping for clear skies this weekend so they can see the Perseids in all their glory. As this nearly coincides with a new moon (11th August) there will be more meteors visible than in other years, and shooting stars should be seen at a maximum rate of approximately three a minute!

Some years, such as 2016, saw between 150-200 meteors an hour. However, observers in the mid-Southern Hemisphere will still have a chance of seeing some shooting stars if they look toward the northeast horizon. But your best opportunity to see the most of the show will be away from the constant hum of city lights. No special equipment is needed, just patience.

If you'd like a reminder, log in to your YouTube account and click "set reminder" on the feed ahead of time to receive an email 30 minutes prior to the broadcast start.

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Capturing the fleeting light show requires some luck as meteors quickly strike through the starry skies. If you live in NY then you're kind of screwed and will have to settle with watching the livestream online.

Why does a meteor shower occur? The meteors will appear to streak away from and out of the constellations of Perseus and Cassiopeia.

The Perseids appear at about this time every year when Earth ventures through pieces of debris left behind by the ancient comet Swift-Tuttle.

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The comet has a 133-year orbit, last visiting our part of the solar system back in 1992 (hence the big meteor show back in the 90s). "Comets and asteroids leave tiny bits of themselves in the orbital path that they take around the sun".