The first total eclipse of the sun in 99 years that will cover parts of the nation from the Pacific to Atlantic is on August 21, but for space buffs, tonight brings a different kind of awe.
In August of 2018, the Perseid meteor shower will be pretty incredible, as the peak night for seeing it will coincide with a new moon. In 1833, another Leonid storm reportedly had a rate of at least tens of thousands meteors per hour.
But while viewing meteors may be more hard this year, enterprising viewers who trek out to rural or suburban areas with less light pollution can still see some meteors. This means it will be nearly impossible to see any meteors after the moon rises.
The comet is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by the earth and has a nucleus width of about 26 km. "Some meteor showers are slow, but we are moving into the Perseid stream so they are coming at us quite swiftly". Debris from the comet breaks off and can drift in space for years before being captured by Earth's gravity and falling into the sky.
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But you don't have to me a club member to watch the meteors at the park.
With only a few clouds in the forecast tonight, some of us could see a few meteors streaking across the Valley.
Interested viewers should find a dark, flat area where they can have a good view of the sky and be prepared to wait. The Perseids promise to be unusually bright 80-100 instead of "shooting stars" per hour, you will see up to 200 meteors.
Following the full moon from August 7, a rather bright waning gibbous on Saturday night could affect your ability to see the shower, impacting the visibility of about half the meteors.