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How can I watch the Perseid meteor shower?

We have a bunch of "cousins" sleeping out in suburban Seattle. Ages 6 to 18 plus rather uninformed adults. I remember this time of year is good for "shooting stars". I would like to alert our gang to watch the skies---and would like to know at least enough so as not to misinform them.

The Perseid meteor shower, which is due to peak on the night of August 12-13 this year (2002) is one of the most watched meteor showers around, mostly because it happens during the warm nights of summer. Even though the peak is likely to be on this night, you may still be able to see some meteors over the weekend. All of the meteors will appear to come out of the constellation Perseus (hence the Perseid shower) which is kind of by Cassiopeia (the "W" shaped one). If you can find the Big Dipper, use the pointer stars (the two opposite the handle on the cup) to find the north star. Roughly opposite the Big Dipper (across the North Star) you will find Cassiopeia. Perseus is just a little further still. The best way to watch meteors is just by sitting back and waiting. They show up best to the naked eye, where you can get a good wide view of the sky.

Here are some sites with more info:
NASA Science (2002 and 2003 showers)
Perseids page

Also something to look out for is a pass of the International Space Station. Heavens Above is a good site to tell you more about this - like when and where in the sky it will pass over your location.

August 2002, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer)

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