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Shower Power and Shooting Stars Tonight!

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Tonight marks the first night of the Perseid meteor shower's peak viewing season in North America. Up to sixty meteors per hour will steadily begin appearing in tonight's August 11th sky around 10:00 PM, and will continue to make their presence known at least until Monday's dawn on August 13th. The Perseid meteor shower is named after the Perseus constellation and is essentially just a really long trail of cosmic debris. The shower is expected to be an extra-special sky marvelment this weekend because Mars will also be easily visible in the northeastern part of the sky (Burbank-ish yonder).

Light pollution can make viewing celestial phenomena difficult in Los Angeles, but because the moon is dark tonight, Angelenos should have a decent chance at seeing the meteors by simply looking up at the sky and locating the darkest possible sky-patch. And the best part is that you don't need any special astronomy equipment -- your buck-naked eye-balls will suffice for Perseid.

And for future reference, there is going to be an even cooler once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower (the Auragids) on September 1st...I'll remind you as that meteor shower draws near.

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Check out these links for a crash-course in Perseid meteor showers:
"Perseid Meteor Shower This Weekend"
"Great Perseids"
"Get Ready for the 2007 Perseids!"

Photo by Beej Jorgensen via Flickr.