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Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight

By Boston.com staff
August 11, 2009

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If you want to wish upon a "falling star," tonight's your night. That is, if you're willing to stay up past midnight.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which began around July 14, will reach its peak activity early Wednesday morning. At its peak, the shower typically has anywhere from 60 to 80 visible meteors an hour, according to NASA.

NASA recommends viewers get away from city lights and lie flat on a blanket. When scouring the sky for meteors, avoid looking at the moon, since that will cut down one's night vision and make it harder to spot the small streaks of light. Stargazers will have to contend with a gibbous moon that's only a few days past being full.

The meteors can appear in any part of the sky, but the tails of the meteors will point back to the constellation Perseus -- the shower's namesake -- in the northeast corner of the sky.

Another potential roadblock to your meteor watching: The weather. The National Weather Service calls for a "mostly cloudy" evening, and a cloud of fog had settled over Boston at around 6 p.m. this evening, delaying flights at Logan International Airport.