Ask Your Questions About the Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower: Afternoon Chat, Then Up All Night!
Looking for a little excitement as the summer draws to a close? This year's Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug. 12-13, and it promises to be one of the best displays of the year. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a peak display of at least 80 meteors per hour. A waxing crescent moon will set before the shower becomes active, setting a perfect stage for meteor watching -- weather permitting, of course!

On Thursday, Aug. 12, from 3-4 p.m. EDT, astronomer Bill Cooke from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the Perseids and the best ways to view it. Joining the chat is easy. Simply log in to this page on Aug. 12 a few minutes before 3 p.m. EDT. A chat window will be active at the bottom of the page. Log in, then Bill will start answering your questions at 3:00 EDT. And then...stay up all night with NASA! Later that night -- Aug. 12 -- from 11:00 p.m. to 5 a.m. EDT, Bill will take your questions via Web chat.

More About the Perseids

The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust -- most over 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

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