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Watch Perseid Meteor Shower Aug. 11 and 12—Without Leaving Your Backyard

Viewers should be able to observe around 80 "shooting stars" per hour during this year's Perseid Meteor Shower.

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People across the country the world have been inspired by NASA's recent Mars Curiosity Rover success.

And if you were one of those people inspired, now you have the chance to get in touch with your inner space-geek—from the comfort of your backyard.

One of the biggest meteor showers of the year will happen this weekend, and it could be dazzling.

According to Astronomy.com, the Perseid Meteor shower will occur this weekend, peaking on Saturday night with roughly 80 "shooting starts" per hour. It also occurs on a night when the moon is in its waning crescent phase, which means the moonlight won't interfere with your view of the dashing meteors. You don't need a fancy telescope to see the light show.

Richfield's local naturalist and director, said, "Meteors are more likely to be seen after midnight. That is due to the way the earth is ‘facing’ into them at that time."

If you want to get out of your backyard for the show, Shragg suggests finding a spot that is not too hampered by city lights. Then just "lie down on a blanket and enjoy the sight of rocks burning up in our atmosphere."

Spectators may also consider one of Richfield's many parks. However, remember park hours; all close at either 10 or 11 p.m.

Want to see it from an actual observatory?

Just west of the Twin Cities is the Onan Observatory at Baylor Regional Park in Noorwood Young America. The observatory is free to visit, but a parking pass is required to enter the park.

Perseid Meteor Trivia:

  • These meteors travel 37 miles per second!
  • The best time to view will be 2 a.m. on Sunday.
  • The weather in Montclair, so far, is predicted to be clear, so you should have a good view.
  • The Perseid Meteors are cast-offs of the Swift-Tuttle comet, according to Space.com.
  • The shower began July 23, and will peak on Saturday night. 
  • Look toward the Perseus constellation, which forms an inverted "Y" shape and is in the northeast.
  • Some of the meteroids are as small as a grain of sand, but they have the kinetic energy of a nuclear bomb!
  • If you see a very slow, bright object sailing across the sky, it's either a satellite or a Space Station.   

Where to view:

  • You don't need a telescope to view this celestial event, so just head out to a dark spot.

If you snap a photo, e-mail it to caitlin.burgess@patch.com or upload it to the Patch Pics and Clips page. 

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