Perseid meter shower to peak this Saturday

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Look up to the skies this Friday and Saturday night in Northeast Ohio for a view of the Perseid meteor shower peak.

There is a meteor shower likely coming to the sky near you this weekend, think of it as a sky watching warm up for the August 21 eclipse. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because the Perseid shower happens every single year from July through Sept, reaching its peak in August, so if you miss it this year, there's always next year.

Typically, meteor rates are around 80 meteors per hour, and even hit 150 to 200 meteors per hour in 2016. They will originate in that part of the sky. "In the case of the Perseids, these get to be nearly as bright as Venus". We call them the Perseids because they appear to come out of the constellation Perseus to us here on Earth.

As Earth passes through the debris left over from a transitory comet like the 109P/Swift-Tuttle, the debris enters our planet's atmosphere and burn up, producing bright streaks in the sky.

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"When the comet gets close to the sun - not that close, but in the inner solar system - it melts a little and leaves a lot of debris behind", explained Cathy Cox, Ph.D., a physics professor at Lake Tahoe Community College. They slam into Earth at 37 miles per second, said Bob Berman, astronomy editor for The Old Farmer's Almanac. Some meteors are expected to produce a train, or a spectrum of colors.

"Actually next year, it occurs, I believe, around the time of new moon so we should have a much better display next summer", Chester said. Plus, the moon is still quite bright, coming out of full moon August 7th.

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There is another celestial show, and this one is going on right now.

Normally, Northern Hemisphere viewers are treated to a spectacle of about 100 to 120 visible shooting stars per hour when the phenomenon peaks around mid-August - depending on the moon and the weather.

Stargazers should find an area away from light pollution, and allow about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

Whether South Florida's skies will cooperate is another thing.

European model cloud cover forecast for 11 p.m. eastern Saturday night.

If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, is offering a live broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.