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Perseid meteor shower 'outburst' coming this week

Perseid meteor shower 'outburst' coming this week

Doyle Rice | USA Today

What's often the best meteor shower of the year — the Perseids — is predicted to be even better than usual when the shooting stars appear in the night sky later this week.

“Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12,” said Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office. “Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour,” he said.

An outburst is a meteor shower with more meteors than usual. This occurs when Earth passes through the heart of the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits around the sun.

The meteors are actually tiny dust and particles. The particles, many no bigger than a grain of sand or a pea, disintegrate as they blast into our atmosphere at 132,000 mph, making a brilliant flash of light, the American Meteor Society said.

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