Watch the Peak of Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 and Chat Live with NASA Experts

Perseid rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky.

The 2012 Perseids peak is under way, and here are some viewing tips from NASA astronomer Bill Cooke

According to Cooke, the Perseids should have become visible about 10 p.m. local time, with rates increasing till dawn. Observers with clear, dark skies can expect rates of one per minute or thereabouts. Standard meteor viewing applies. Lie on your back (blanket, sleeping bag, lawn chair) and look straight up. Don't use binoculars or telescopes — they have too small a field of view — and don't look toward the radiant in Perseus, as the meteors in the direction will have short trains and be less spectacular. Avoid looking at the waning crescent moon if possible.

Perseid rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky. A waning crescent moon will interfere slightly with this year's show, but according to skywatchers, viewing should definitely be worth a look. 

Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the 2012 Perseid meteor shower via an "Up All Night" live chat. Click here to join the chat, then simply log in. Chat experts will be available to answer questions until 3 a.m. 

Some advice from SPACE.com: If you don't see any meteors at first, be patient. This is a meteor shower, not a meteor storm. There will be a lot more meteors than you would see on a normal night, but they will still only come at random intervals, perhaps 20 or 30 in an hour.

When you do see a meteor, it will likely be very fast and at the edge of your field of vision. You may even doubt that what you saw was real. But, when you do see something, watch that area more closely, as two or three meteors often come in groups down the same track.

About the Perseids 

The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in 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. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus. 

Check out 10 facts about Perseids from SPACE.com. 

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joshua msson August 12, 2012 at 07:31 AM
is the world going to end in 2012 december because i need to know for deffinate
Didi August 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM
@joshua, no man knows the day or hour that this will happen. The only sure thing is to commit your life to God through Jesus Christ. You can pray to Him right now, and He will hear you. Then find a Bible teaching Church like Calvary Chapel, and ask for guidance. I'm praying for you!
Dana August 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM
@Didi, wonderful response. What a beautiful thing it is to relax because of the love of Jesus Christ.
cdc August 12, 2012 at 02:26 PM
what in hell does that have to do with the meteor shower and to those of you who are naive enough to think that there is some invisible "God" sitting on a throne playing chess with the world and an invisible "Satan" playing with him I feel sorry for you, the Bible was written to inspire hope in a time of hopelessness and to remind us that we need to live right and work together if we want to "live a happy life". & lastly to remind us that everything good or bad comes to an end and we have no control over it, so don't fear it just know that it will happen and there isn't anything you can do to stop it and enjoy life to the fullest every sec. that you live because it might be your last sec. to live. have a blessed day!!!!!!!!!
cdc August 12, 2012 at 02:56 PM
just to soften the blow "God is all around you. The wind, the water, the birds singing, the meteors shooting across the sky tonight, and most of all God is you and you are in control of you unfortunately you are not in control of the wind, rain, fire, or Earth, which we live in and can take you out of this world any time you let your guard down or get your hopes down. So quit living in fear and start living in love!!!!!!
Dana August 12, 2012 at 03:52 PM
That was quite a blow :) thanks for softening it. I definitely agree with living in love like you say cdc. There's not a statement that defines me- a Christian- more. Didi's and my comments are purely out of love, and not fear. Again, that's exactly why I believe in God- to have no fear. It's quite nice actually.
Tom clementi August 12, 2012 at 04:36 PM
So many clouds over CT last night! I saw 10 meteors before I could see the peak of it. Was hoping to see hundreds at once. There's always Monday but again there will be clouds!!! Hey at least we all get to live during the planets alignment with the center of the milky way. I will be sure to watch in my iPhone app. The night sky. Great app btw. People are confused about 12/21/12 it's just like setting the clock and calendar back to the beginning. Calm down people!!! It's only a cycle. The poles shift slowly.
Gary Cortez August 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Watch Free Perseids Meteor Shower 2012 Live Streaming Video Download Online >>>http://storify.com/mygreenbucks/watch-free-perseids-meteor-shower-2012-live-stream
Nicole Perry August 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
When will the shower be over Kentucky?
Deanna Allen August 13, 2012 at 01:54 AM
According to NASA, these are local times, so the times above should apply to Kentucky, too.
Gary Cortez August 13, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Watch Free Perseids Meteor Shower 2012 Live Stream >>> http://bit.ly/R4YLhc
john August 13, 2012 at 08:53 AM
no lie people my friend seen a glowing red object jus hovering and plusing near the ground ,, in fort quappelle saskatchewan,, this is for real hes still spooked about what he seen he was traveljng on the highway about 930pm aug 11 2012 and spotted it in a farmers field, it was really dark and foggy,, i wssnt there but he came seen me right after this happpened yhen we went back out theree but it was gone he also said it was kind of shaped like a blimp glowing red and was really big,,,,, we think one of themeteors hit it cuz he also said there was a darkend spot in the object
cdc August 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
sounds like I need to put on my rain boots the B.S is getting rather deep


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