Clear Skies Tonight for the Perseid Meteors

Skies will be clear across southwest Lower Michigan by late tonight, which will allow viewing of the annual Perseid Meteor shower. Some fair weather cumulus clouds will be diminishing after sunset, then clear skies will prevail. Look to the northeast part of the sky for the meteors or "shooting stars", which appear to come from the constellation Perseus. Under fairly dark skies, up to one meteor per minute may be seen. The light from the moon may interfere with the show a bit after midnight, but clouds should not be a factor tonight. The "shooting stars" are actually small pieces of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed through the inner solar system in 1992. Earth's orbit intersects the streamers of debris left by the comet on its past orbits around the sun and the small fragments, many no larger than a speck of dust or grain of sand, are burned to incandescense by friction when they enter the Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 40 miles per second. For the latest satellite data click here.



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