Meteor shower could be visible early Friday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Weather permitting; star gazers could be in for a wonderful experience Friday morning.

The Perseid meteor shower, an annual light show every summer, will peak just before dawn Friday.

The Perseid shower occurs when Earth passes through cosmic dust that composes the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. While the comet is far beyond sight, just past Saturn’s orbit currently, its tail stretches far enough for people to enjoy it each year.

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The particles of dust, most as large as a grain of sand, will travel nearly 130,000 miles per hour, as they pass through the atmosphere, causing a bright streak across the sky.

While five to 10 meteors per hour have been seen since early August in the morning, Friday’s peak should offer nearly 100 meteors per hour.

To effectively view the Perseids, you’ll need to wake up early Friday morning, 2 a.m. to dawn, and look east.

The meteors will seem to originate from a point, called the Radiant, which is located near the constellation Perseus and just west of Mars, currently the brightest object in the night sky. The meteors should be visible until overtaken by sunlight.