Get ready to look up in the sky: The best meteor shower of the year is coming.
According to NASA’s meteor expert Bill Cooke, the fireball-rich Perseids are on the way, with best viewing on the nights of Aug. 11-13 this year, he told Space.Com.
The Perseid meteor shower is an August treat every year because the Earth passes through a trail left by the 16-miles-wide comet of dust, ice, rock and organic material called the Comet Swift-Tuttle, Space.Com explains.
The Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest solar system object to pass close to the Earth repeatedly, according to NASA.
How large? According to NASA, twice the size of whatever killed off the dinosaurs.
But don’t worry. The Comet Swift-Tuttle isn’t going to crash into the Earth any time soon, if at all, NASA says. We have other things to worry about.
For now, just enjoy the universe’s show.
On the nights of Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, Cooke says stargazers all over the Northern Hemisphere should be able to see about 60 to 70 meteors streaking across the night skies — a dip from 2016, which saw more than twice as many meteors per hour, but a bump up from last year’s 40 or 50, and still plenty vivid.
Credit a favorable moon, which will be in crescent phase, near new moon position this month. These conditions let the Perseids shine brightly as dust trails in our atmosphere turn into the fiery streaks we see while gazing upward in our backyards that lead to astute scientific observations between neighbors, such as “oooh!” and “ahhh!”
“That’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it,” Cooke told Space.Com.