Thursday Night's Meteor Shower: Expect a Deluge

160 to 200 meteors expected per hour
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2016 8:34 AM CDT
Thursday Night's Meteor Shower: Expect a Deluge
The Perseids meteor shower in 2013.   (AP Photo/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Blaine McCartney)

Never watched the Perseid meteor shower? This is the year to do it. Though Earth spins through the same ancient comet debris each August, Jupiter's gravity has pulled debris closer to Earth this year, meaning Earthlings will witness twice as many shooting stars as normal, or about 160 to 200 meteors per hour, reports NPR. The last time we had a meteor shower with so many meteors, known as an "outburst," was in 2009 and the next one isn't expected until 2027. How best to tune in to "the greatest fireworks show of your life," per Quartz? Simply head outside between midnight and dawn—after 3am local time is ideal—"find a nice dark spot, lie flat on your back and look up," NASA's Bill Cooke tells Live Science.

And be patient. Your eyes may need 30 to 40 minutes to adjust to the dark before the meteors actually become visible, Cooke says. Avoid binoculars and telescopes, which narrow your field of view, and get away from the bright lights of cities, he adds. If you can't—or if it’s cloudy—a live stream will be available here. You can also tune your radio to a bunch of static and listen to bursts of music as "signals from distant FM stations, not normally receivable, bounce off meteor trails," an astronomer tells the CBC. Meteors will also be visible Friday night into Saturday morning, but the encore won't be nearly as impressive as Thursday's show. (More meteor shower stories.)

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