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Step aside, solar eclipse. This weekend is all about the Perseid meteor shower.

NASA’s tips for best Perseid meteor shower viewing

Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower.
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Rhiannon Blaauw, of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office — located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. — shares some tips and strategies to best view a meteor shower.

Across Idaho and the nation, people are gearing up for a celestial event of epic proportions: the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

But this weekend, you can turn your eyes skyward and enjoy another outer space spectacle. The yearly Perseid meteor shower is at its peak on Saturday night and early Sunday morning, and viewing conditions in Boise will likely let you take in the show.

Bill Wojcik, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boise, said Treasure Valley residents should have a good view of the meteor shower, though clouds could interfere.

“It’s not going to be a clear night by any means,” said Wojcik, who anticipated a partly cloudy forecast.

But the heavy haze of wildfire smoke that the Valley has endured in recent days won’t be a problem, Wojcik said. His advice for best possible viewing? Get out of the city. Light pollution can make it more difficult to see the shower.

Of course, there’s one light that can’t be dimmed. The moon’s glow will be especially bright this year. If you’re able to catch sight of the Perseids before moonrise around 11:30 p.m., you could see as many as 80 shooting stars per hour. After the moon is up, that number drops to about 20 to 30 meteors an hour.

While Saturday night is prime viewing time for the Perseid meteor shower, there’s still time to catch it another night — according to National Geographic, the annual event is thanks to the Earth’s entrance into a trail of debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. Our planet doesn’t fully leave that debris field until August 26.

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