Aug 13, 2012 07:00 PM EDT
The Perseid meteor shower has amazed sky-gazers over the past two nights but it could continue tonight as well.
The meteor shower should have peaked on the morning of August 12, but last night, on the morning of August 13 there was another amazing night show. So the Monday night and the early morning of August 14 could be well worth a view.
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As always the time between midnight and dawn are said to be the best time, especially the few hours where it is darkest prior to sunrise on Tuesday morning.
According to the International Meteor Organization, the zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of meteors visible in a dark sky climbed as high as 150 in some places on the morning of August 13. That by far exceeded expectations and ensured those diligent enough to have stayed up caught a spectacular show.
The Perseid Meteor Shower for August 2012 has been an amazing visual display compared to the same event last year.
The Perseid meteor shower is from the debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle impacting the earth's atmosphere during its rotation.
The past two years has seen disappointing Perseid meteor showers due to adverse conditions, but this year has been the best for three years.
The shooting stars are particles of dust and debris from the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle, and as those particles impact with the Earth's atmosphere it gives off an amazing burn streak in the night sky.
In recent years the average number of shooting stars has been low and last year it was only 30 per hour. In the best years there have been as many as 170 per hour on average. This year however the average is set to be above 100 per hour again and especially the visibility of the shower should be clearer than for years, making it an event not to be missed.
NASA has reported: "With the shower just beginning to wane, the planets put on their best show yet."
"The 17% crescent moon will pass less than 3 degrees from Venus as Jupiter hovers overhead."
"Sky watchers say there's nothing prettier than a close encounter between the slender crescent Moon and Venus-nothing, that is, except for the crescent Moon, Venus and a flurry of Perseids."
Here is a time lapse video of the Perseid meteor shower:
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