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Tips on the Best Viewing Times and Places for the Perseid Meteor Shower

The key is to find a dark viewing area and be willing to stay up late to maximize your Perseid experience.

The farther you get away from the big city and the later you can stay up, the better your chances will be to view the Perseid meteor shower this weekend (Aug. 11-12, 2012) in Georgia.

The annual celestial event peaks this weekend — more accurately, around 2 a.m. Sunday morning — and with it comes one-meteor-per-minute viewing. With the moon in its fading crescent phase, a weather forecast favorable for fairly clear skies and the peak coming in the middle of a weekend (for those who need to sleep in) conditions could be fantastic.

The search for perfect conditions away from the city's light pollution will take the Atlanta Astronomy Club to Brasstown Bald, Georgia's tallest peak, Saturday for the show.

Prime viewing events also are planned at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Ga., and Georgia Veterans State Park near Cordele, Ga.

But you don't have to make your Perseid experience a road trip.

In its tips for viewing the Perseid meteor shower, Spacedex.com calls conditions for Georgia "near ideal."

Also, it says:

-- The best hours for viewing are 11 p.m. (Saturday) to 4:30 a.m. (Sunday). Early Monday morning should be good, too, with less moonlight expected.

-- As many as 80 meteors per hours are predicted.

-- Find the darkest (and safest) spots you can, with few obstructions.

-- Get away from the glow of city lights and passing motorists.

-- When you find a spot, face northeast and look about halfway up from the horizon. This should be the best area to see meteor trails. You won't need a telescope.

-- Be patient. There may be several minutes between meteors.

Another good idea is make sure you're comfortable — blankets, lounge chairs, refreshments and bug spray are all good choices.

Happy star-gazing.

Want to learn more? The Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville has a Perseid Meteor Shower lecture Friday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. with astronomer David Dundee. Learn about meteor showers, why we have them and how to observe them.

(Editor's Note: This appeared first on Suwannee Patch)

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