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How to Watch the Best Night Sky Fireball Show of the Year This Weekend

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

On Sunday, Daenarys and her dragons will be burning everything to ground on Game of Thrones. But the best fire show this weekend will actually be happening in real life, in the sky, no HBO password required. All you have to do is look up.


Seriously, though, whoever is using my family’s ShowTime account to watch The Bratz Movie: show yourself, coward.

This weekend, between August 11th and 13th, the Perseids meteor shower is expected to peak. The Perseids, which come around every year, are widely regarded as the one of the best meteor showers of the year. However, this summer, a particularly bright moon might steal a little of the limelight. NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told that because of the brightness of the Moon, which will be three quarters full and shining high in the sky when the Perseids are peaking around midnight, viewers will see roughly 40 to 50 meteors per hour instead of the usual 80 to 100.


But don’t get too bummed. The Perseids have some super bright meteors that are sure to put on a spectacular show, no matter how desperate the Moon is for attention.

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

“The Perseids appear to produce more fireballs than any other meteor shower, where fireballs are extra bright meteors,” Caitlin Ahrens, an astronomer at the University of Arkansas, told Gizmodo. “In the case of the Perseids, these get to be almost as bright as Venus. So you’ll have a better than decent chance of catching sight of a fireball, as well.”

The Perseids are leftover debris from Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which takes about 133 years to orbit the Sun. Though it last brushed up with the inner solar system in 1992, the debris train from the comet puts on a nice show for us Earthlings every year as our planet passes through it.


“The best times to observe will be after midnight, or 1am local daylight saving time, when your location will swing around to the ‘front’ of Earth’s orbital direction,” Ahrens added.

You don’t need a telescope or even binoculars to see the Perseids—just a dark, clear sky, some good company, and a little rosé. The shower should be visible all over the sky, so all you’ve got to do is look up, the longer the better for your eyes to acclimate to the darkness. If you’re trapped in a smog den—or are being held hostage in a basement by several dogs in a trench coat—Slooh will be live streaming the whole thing starting on August 12th at 8pm EDT. You can check it out below:

Space Writer, Gizmodo

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A few Facebook friends have been sharing a meme that this will be the brightest meteor shower in history, but it won’t. It will be nice watching, but two meteor showers in the late 19th century reached 1,000+ meteors an hour. This is one-half of one percent of that. And that’s still worth watching.