Perseid meteors promise shower of science

Professional and amateur astronomers will be teaming up tonight to gather information about the origins and future of the Perseid meteor showers. The spectacle occurs every year when dust from a particular comet hits Earth’s atmosphere, visible as streaks of light shooting across the night sky.

Members of the International Meteor Organization (IMO), a group of amateur astronomers who are located around the world, will collect reports of meteor sightings made with the naked eye — aided by the new Moon, which will provide especially dark skies. The astronomers will collate their results using a standardized report form with details of timings, cloud cover and sky position, and the resulting global estimate of meteor distribution will complement the measurements of the professionals.

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