Perseid meteor shower peaks overnight

Aug 12, 2011

One of the brightest meteor showers of the year happens overnight. It’s called the the Perseid meteor shower and although it happens for several days, it will peak around 3 a.m. Saturday.

The meteor showers happen as the Earth makes its annual trip around the sun and encounters a particular trail of comet dust.

Sally Oey is an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan. She says as the Earth travels through this comet dust, little particles enter our Earth’s atmosphere and appear as meteors or “shooting stars.”

“People sometimes think that when you’re out there looking for a meteor shower that you will see a lot of particles raining down like a snow storm. That’s actually not how fast they come down. So you might see one every minute, or every 2-3 minutes.”

But tonight’s weather might make it harder to see the shooting stars. A full moon will make the sky brighter, and partly cloudy skies might also get in the way.