NASA will let you view Perseid meteor shower from a front-row seat

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NASA has announced its plans of hosting a NASA TV program where it will be broadcasting a live show about this year’s Perseid meteor shower from 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 12 to 2 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 13 [1:00 AM BST to 7:00 AM BST August 13].

The event will highlight the science behind the Perseids, as well as NASA research related to meteors and comets.

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. Every August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet’s orbital debris.

This debris field — mostly created hundreds of years ago — consists of bits of ice and dust shed from the comet which burn up in Earth’s atmosphere to create one of the premier meteor showers of the year.

The best opportunity to see the Perseid meteor shower is during the dark, pre-dawn hours of Aug. 13. The Perseids streak across the sky from many directions, with theoretical rates as high as 100 per hour. The last time the Perseids peak coincided with a new Moon was in 2007, making this one of the best potential viewings in years.

Special guests on the live NASA TV broadcast include meteor experts Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw, all of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, located at Marshall. They will provide on-air commentary, as well as answer questions online. Also scheduled to join the broadcast are experts from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, the American Meteor Society and others.

The program will air on NASA TV and NASA’s UStream channel.