Perseids peak this week in one of the brightest meteor showers of the year

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This Might Be Your Best Chance to Catch the Perseids

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower, a favorite among astronomy fans, is set for the nights of Aug. 11-12 and favorable viewing conditions are in store across the Plains and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.

"It's one of the two best annual meteor showers, and the only one that happens during warm weather," Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman said.

The Perseids is a favorite among stargazers due to these meteors being brighter than most showers, according to Slooh, a community observatory that has connected telescopes to the Internet for public use.

The Perseids will peak when Earth passes the thickest part of the debris stream on Aug. 11-12. Slooh stated that in a clear, dark sky as many as 60 meteors can be seen in an hour. With a new moon on Aug. 14, skies will be dark all night, providing excellent viewing conditions.

The Perseids are similar to most meteor showers in that they are simply dust-sized pieces of icy debris expelled from a comet, according to Slooh.

Check out pics from the Geminid meteor shower:

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Geminid meteor shower
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Perseids peak this week in one of the brightest meteor showers of the year
Japan, Tokai Region, Shizuoka Prefecture, Fujinomiya-shi, Geminid Meteor Shower in sky. (Photo by: JTB/UIG via Getty Images)
A Geminid meteor can be seen in the sky near Warsaw on December 13, 2012. The meteor display, known as the Geminid meteor shower because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini, is thought to be the result of debris cast off from an asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon. The shower is visible every December. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of the Geminid meteor shower in the National Park of El Teide on the Spanish canary island of Tenerife on December 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DESIREE MARTIN (Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view of the Geminid meteor shower in the National Park of El Teide on the Spanish canary island of Tenerife on December 13, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DESIREE MARTIN (Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
VICTORVILLE, USA - DECEMBER 14: This incredible picture shows a huge meteor hurtling to earth during the annual Geminid meteor shower on December 14, 2009. Taken from the Mojave Desert area near Victorville under a very dark and mostly clear sky, astro-photogrpaher Wally Pacholka captured this amazing picture during the annual cosmic fireworks show. The meteor shower has been growing in intensity in recent decades and was an even better holiday treat than usual this year with it falling in a nearly moonless week. Featuring as many as 140 shooting stars per hour, the Geminid show took place between Sunday evening and Monday morning. (Photo by Wally Pacholka / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK, NV - DECEMBER 14: A Geminid meteor streaks diagonally across the sky against a field of star trails over one of the peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation early December 14, 2007 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The meteor display, known as the Geminid meteor shower because it appears to radiate from near the star Castor in the constellation Gemini, is thought to be the result of debris cast off from an asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon. The shower is visible every December. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A meteor is seen streaking left to right above the constellation Orion in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2012 in the sky above Tyler, Texas. The metor is part of the Geminid meteor shower, which is peaking tonight. As many as 50 per hour are being seen. The meteors radiate from the region of sky containing the constellation Gemini which give them their name. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
The Geminid Meteor Shower is arguably the best meteor shower of the year. I stayed up until 3 AM to get the shot here, taken at the Paint Mines in Calhan, Colorado. Minor light pollution from Colorado Springs is seen at bottom left, with 12 meteors in the frame. It was an amazing sight to behold, with meteors flashing in the night sky causing the ground to get lit up.
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Berman stated that the best time to view the Perseids would be after midnight both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. He added that "people away from cities should see one a minute starting at midnight both nights; but city dwellers will only see the brightest ones, reducing the number to maybe one every 10 minutes. Also, an open area of sky is best. Don't just try to peek between trees or buildings."

Stargazers who will encounter inclement weather or cloudy skies can view Slooh's live broadcast of the meteor shower below starting at 8 p.m. EDT on Aug. 12.

For observers across New England, an area of low pressure will bring clouds and thunderstorms during the meteor shower, resulting in poor viewing conditions, stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root.

"Farther south across the mid-Atlantic, clouds from this system may clear out in time for viewers to catch a glimpse of the nighttime sky, but folks along the Southeast coast will not be so lucky," Root said.

A storm system bringing clouds to the central High Plains could disrupt viewing conditions at times, but not all night.

"The best viewing conditions will certainly be across the Plains, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and into the Tennessee Valley as a large area of high pressure will keep clouds away," Root said.

Root added that clear skies will be present across most of the West and southern Plains, making for excellent viewing conditions.

"Perseids are reliable, and one-third of them leave behind lingering "trains" that glow for a second or two after the meteor is gone," Berman said.

The first recorded observation of the Perseids was taken by Chinese astronomers in 36 A.D.

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