Perseids Meteor Shower 2014 Peak: Shower Kicks Off With Fireballs; Where to Look in US, UK, Australia

The 2014 Perseids Meteor Shower has kicked off with the detection of fireballs over the weekend.

The bright meteors signal the beginning of the shower.

Spaceweather.com said that the activity of at least five Perseid fireballs detected by NASA cameras is “a ‘mini-flurry’ that signals the beginning of the annual display.”

“Normally the best time to watch would be during the shower’s peak: August 11 through 13. This year, however, the supermoon will cast an interfering glare across the nights of maximum activity, reducing visibility from 120 meteors per hour (the typical Perseid peak rate) to less than 30,” it said.

Optimal viewing is basically the same in most countries, just find an open sky and watch because Perseid meteors come from all directions, according to NASA.

“Lie on the ground and look straight up into the dark sky. Again, it is important to be far away from artificial lights. Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt,” it advises.

The fireballs have been observed for at least 2,000 years are are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. Each year in late July and August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet’s debris.

“These bits of ice and dust — most over 1,000 years old — burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere,” NASA says.

The meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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