Meteor shower dazzles PH skies this weekend

NASA astronomers have estimated that this year's Perseid meteor shower will generate almost 40 to 50 shooting stars streaking across the night sky each hour during its peak.

NASA says the shower officially peaks at 1 p.m. EST on August 12, but your best bet to see a few meteors will be the predawn hours of August 12.

Where is the best place to see a Perseid meteor shower?

So, what should you really expect Saturday night into Sunday for this year's Perseid peak?

The Perseid Meteor Shower takes place annually from July 17 to August 24, when the Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle and debris from the comet pierce the Earth's atmosphere at 130,000 miles per hour. The meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus, hence the name. "Don't look down, don't look at the person next to you, just keep watching the sky".

Cooke said this year's rate is expected to be about 150 per hour but many of those will be blocked out by the light of the moon.

For anyone planning to watch the Perseid meteor shower this weekend, the forecast holds some bad news.

Your own worldly view will be enough as it is preferable to be able to see all of the sky at the same time so you can see more streaking fireballs that may be shooting across. Perseid Meteor Shower is not the only exciting cosmic event in the month of August as there was also a Lunar Eclipse on August 7 and a coming Total Solar Eclipse on August 21.

It's going to be a cloudy and possibly stormy evening in Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Lee Hendricks of the National Weather Service in Moon Township.

"I think many meteor researchers would give that award to the 1833 Leonids, which had rates of tens of thousands, perhaps even 100,000, meteors per hour".

He noted that Comet SwiftTuttle is the source of Perseid as astronomers discovered that it leaves a river of dust around the sun as it approaches it every 130 years.

That said, cloud cover may be an issue, Gilmore said, but those clouds should gradually clear out through early Saturday morning before dawn.

For the best viewing, head away from city lights and look toward the northeast during the dark hours just before sunrise.

"This year, however, there is a bright waning gibbous moon in the sky all three mornings", said