Scientists Predict Perseid Meteor Shower Will Have Twice as Many Meteors This Year

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SACRAMENTO -- All eyes will be pointed to the sky the next few nights (if you're not sleeping) as perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year takes place.

What makes this year's Perseid meteor shower so spectacular is there will be twice as many meteors per hour than usual.

So, instead of seeing an average of about 80 meteors per hour, scientists are predicting that because the comet trail is so thick this year, we could see anywhere from 150 to 200 meteors every hour dancing across the sky. But, as with most extraordinary things, timing is key.

"Not just the timing," explained David Mues who is the planetarium coordinator for Powerhouse Science Center. "But also the location. You're going to want to pick a spot as far away from lights as possible, so if you can drive out and get to a more rural area that's great. And keep in mind that later is better, and latest is best."

That means viewing will be good after midnight, but it will be best for about a three-hour window leading up to sunrise.

"This one in particular," noted FOX40 Meteorologist Darren Peck. "If you can look after 2 a.m., once the moon has set, then you're going to have a far better show. From 2 a.m. to about the hour or so before sunrise."

Another key that will allow this year's show to really light up the sky is that the Perseid's peak does not fall near a full moon. However, for us here in California, it is the height of the fire season, and smoke is a factor in the sky for most of the state.

"The smoke is dispersing throughout California," said Peck. "Particularly through the Central Valley and even up in to the Sierra, so that there's this general haze across the state, and that simply is just going to cut down on the amount of stuff you can see in the sky."

But if you do find a nice, rural spot to watch the show predominantly in the northeastern sky, it will be best viewed with the naked eye.

"Your best bet is to go outside and take a look around," said Mues. "One of the nice things about meteor showers is they don't require an investment of money, it's just an investment of time."

That, and maybe a short drive to places like Folsom Lake, or the hills in and around Auburn or Placerville.

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