How and Where to Watch the Perseid Meteor Showers Live

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August's Perseid meteor shower has historically been providing the best opportunity for enthusiasts to catch meteor shows, but this year the Internet will let casual observers enjoy the show live online.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is providing a live video feed of the sky throughout the night, letting net-surfers enjoy the celestial show without stepping a foot outside.

The webcams, which are light activated, will only show a blank screen during the day, but as night rolls in, the webcams will automatically switch on to give a wide panoramic view of the sky.

In addition to the rooftop-mounted cameras at NASA's Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., several other camera's are also available for live viewing:

Sandia Sentinel Fireball Camera Network, El Paso, Texas (NMSU All Sky Camera Network)

Sandia Sentinel Fireball Camera Network, Hawley, Texas

Oak Grove Observatory, Prairieville, La.

New Mexico Skies Observatories, Mayhill, N.M.

Twin Pines Observatory, Belmont, Calif.

MMTO Sky Camera, Tuscon, Ariz.

Lick Observatory All-Sky Camera, Mount Hamilton, Calif.

Paul Beskeen Astrophotography, Cambridgeshire, U.K.

Serious viewers can also join NASA astronomer Bill Cooke and his team in a live online chat to ask questions and get expert insight into the event as it unfolds.

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 more than 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.

The showers are occurring through out this week, but the peak will be Friday night, Aug. 12, through the next day.

 

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