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Massive meteor shower should reach its peak August 12-13

Perseid meteors shown in August 2009. Submitted photo / NASA/JPL

FARGO—The best time for people across the U.S. to witness one of the most "plentiful meteor showers" is coming up, according to NASA.

During the Perseid meteor showers, most visible across the U.S. on Sunday, Aug. 12, and Monday, people may witness 50 to 100 meteors per hour in clear, summer night skies.

The showers are active from July 14 to Aug. 24, but peaks mid-August.

The Perseids are debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet only orbits the sun once every 133 years, but the debris can be seen every year in the summer months.

This meteor shower and others can be seen in a time lapse from space in an interactive map provided with data from NASA Ames Researcher Peter Jenniskens.

Jay Bjerke, president of the Fargo-Moorhead Astronomy Club, said the best location to view the meteor shower will be away from city lights.

"At the end of the day, these are just small dust particles entering the atmosphere and burning up. They aren't very bright, so you have to get out of the city lights to see them. You really have to get out in the country," he said.

"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. You'll want to look north east."

The Fargo-Moorhead Astronomy Club will be hosting a Star Party Aug. 10 at the MSUM Science Center. They will have telescopes for people to view different stars and even view some of the perseids before the peak. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn should be in good viewing this year, according to Bjerke.

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