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The comet has an orbital period of about 130 years, and the meteors are small particles, some as small as a grain of sand, entering the Earth's upper atmosphere at around 130,000mph.

The eclipse can be seen from the North Pole and in northern cities. During a meteor shower, that number can jump to dozens and sometimes hundreds of meteors per hour.

The shower is the result of Earth encountering the gritty debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, according to Gary Boyle, an astronomy educator, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada who is known as "The Backyard Astronomer".

Although the shower is not expected to peak until next weekend, NASA all-sky cameras are already detecting dozens of Perseid fireballs every night over the USA. "Even if the viewing conditions aren't the best, you're likely to spot some meteors during the maximum nights of the Perseid meteor shower each year".

How can I view the meteor shower? The best viewing time: between midnight and dawn, when more than 50 meteors per hour will streak across the night sky. As it comes through the atmosphere, it burns up, heating up the air and creating a glow.

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"This year we'll be lucky the moon won't be shining most of the night, it will be a very thin crescent so it should be quite dark".

The Perseid meteor shower is visible to the naked eye, so no equipment is necessary.

Boyle says the best place to see the shower is away from the light, which means heading out of the city but advises people not to trespass on other peoples properties.

If you decide to go shooting star spotting, don't forget to let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The Perseid meteor shower may be an annual event, but it's such an exciting celestial show that it's always worth another look.


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