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Annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight

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WASHINGTON (BNS): Sky gazers may expect some spectacular fireworks in the night sky Friday when the annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak.

The meteor shower occurs in August every year when Earth wades through a ‘swarm of dust’ shed by comet Swift-Tuttle in the constellation of Perseus.

The periodic comet orbits the Sun in every 133 years. When Earth passes through its path, the bits of ice and debris shed by it, most over 1,000 years old, burn up in Earth’s atmosphere to create spectacular dazzle.

The meteor shower will reach its peak on the night of Friday and into the early morning of Saturday, according to NASA.

However, a full bright Moon may play spoilsport and the rates will probably only be 20-30 per hour at most, the space agency said.

The celestial feast can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.

The Perseids have been observed by astronomers for at least 2,000 years.

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