Viewing Conditions: Perseid Meteor Shower to Peak Sunday, Monday

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express reports stargazers are in for a show this weekend as the Perseid meteor shower will once again illuminate the night sky. Though the display commenced in mid-July, the peak will be visible Sunday night into Monday morning.

Perseid meteors are particles from the debris trail on the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle and hit the Earth's atmosphere moving 132,000 miles per hour.

Conditions will be prime for viewing the show in the Northeast, but the mid-Atlantic, especially Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will be on the edge. A front pushing into the south could create an obstructive, cloudy sky.

"Right now, it seems that the front will hold stubbornly across the Carolinas," according to Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, promoting fair conditions.

The nation's midsection will not catch much of the shower as a front sags across it, posing a threat for heavy rain.

The immediate West Coast will also miss the display due to low clouds.

This year, with the moon in a crescent phase, the dark sky will aid in the spectacle, allowing even fainter meteors to be seen.

"Any time you have a darker sky, that helps," Meteorologist Mark Paquette said.

The shower, nicknamed the "Fireball Champion," produces more meteors than any other annual shower and is typically bright enough at its peak to be seen in areas that suffer some light pollution.

"Most people consider this the best meteor shower of all to see shooting stars," Paquette said.