Pull out a comfy lawn chair, grab some snacks and face to the east this weekend for a view of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Cincinnati Observatory Outreach Astronomer Dean Regas said the meteors are about the size of a grain of sand and hit the earth's atmosphere at more than 100,000 miles per hour. They reach 3,000 degrees fahrenheit, producing the flash of light you see.
"The only trick is, you have to be up pretty early in the morning to see most of them, usually between 2 and 5 a.m., which is a little early for most folks," said Regas.
You can start looking for the meteors after midnight Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with Monday morning between 2 and 5 being the peak. You won't need a telescope. In fact, you want to be able to see as much of the sky as possible.
"The key is to get away from the city lights," said Regas. "You want to get farther away from light pollution, so getting out to the parks is always good."
Cincinnati Observatory members will be hosting a star party Saturday night. It'll be at Stonelick State Park in Clermont County from dusk until dawn, if the skies are clear. It's free and open to the public.
The small particles were left behind by the Swift-Tuttle Comet and each year, around August 12, the Earth plows into them. Regas said this happens about 60 miles up, so most, if not all, of the meteors burn up in the atmosphere and never hit the ground.