​Perseid meteor shower visible from Vietnam tonight

The annual meteor shower puts on a dazzling display every August

The Perseid meteor shower as seen from the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, U.S. Photo: National Park Foundation

This weekend, people in Vietnam and around the world will be able to see pieces of a comet streaking across the sky, as the annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak.

It is among the most stunning meteor displays of 2017.

The Perseids put on a dazzling display every August as Earth plows through a stream of debris left behind by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which swings around the Sun every 133 years.

Ranging in size from sand grains to boulders, the comet fragments slam into our atmosphere at speeds of more than a hundred thousand miles an hour (161,000 kilometers per hour), causing the meteors to burn up and become bright, fast-moving streamers in the night sky, according to American TV channel National Geographic.

This year, the cosmic fireworks are on display from July 13 to August 26, but activity peaks when Earth encounters a particularly dense part of the debris cloud on Saturday night and into the early morning hours of Sunday.

According to Dang Vu Tuan Son, president of Vietnam Astronomy and Cosmology Association (VACA), the Perseid meteor shower has long been an anticipated event for Vietnamese sky-watchers, as it is one of the year’s two biggest sky shows.

However, Son said, a stunning explosion of meteors such as that observed in 2016 is not to be expected this year, as the Moon’s aura will likely overwhelm the shower’s visibility from Earth as it reaches its peak this midnight.

Around 30-40 shooting stars are expected to be visible per hour under ideal weather conditions and in pollution-free zones, he added.

Son suggests looking at the direction of the Perseus constellation at around 1:00 am on Sunday to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower at its brightest.

To locate the Perseus constellation, simply turn north-east and gaze at the night sky at a 35-50 degree angle from the ground, he said.

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