EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event occurring this weekend, with peak activity happening on Sunday night.
The Michigan State University Abrams Planetarium explained why the upcoming Perseid meteor shower is a great opportunity to see an object from space with the naked eye.
The shower is the result of debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet that falls through our atmosphere, creating a streak of light.
Meteor showers are regular events that result from Earth passing through a known debris field that crosses our orbit. The friction generated when the material burns up in our atmosphere causes it to shine briefly.
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the better meteor shower shows each year, with one of the higher meteors-per-hour rates.
The number of meteors you see per hour is measured by ZHR. This represents how many meteors you could see under the best conditions. Most meteor showers are a ZHR (Zenith Hourly Rate) of 5 or less. The ZHR for this year’s Perseid meteor shower is 100.
Even without ideal circumstances, you will likely see one meteor every couple of minutes or so if you can get to dark skies away from city lights. That, combined with the moon rising late and not being as illuminated, makes this a pretty good viewing year.
You can look anywhere in the sky to view the Perseid meteor shower. The meteors will appear to radiate from a point in the northern sky from the constellation Perseus, which is where the name comes from.
It is best to get as far away as possible from any light pollution, so be patient and try viewing the shower in the early hours of the morning before sunrise.
The MSU Abrams Planetarium will be open to the public on Saturday night. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.