Spectacular Meteor Shower and Rare Planet Alignment Coincide

Spectacular Meteor Shower and Rare Planet Alignment Coincide
The trio of planets gathering with the moon in the western sky Aug. 12, 2010, just after sunset. On Aug. 13, the moon will slide to the left and slightly higher compared to this view. On Aug. 11, the planets will be I roughly the same location but without the moon. The planes will remain in a tight formation through the weekend but will be lower and lower in the sky each night. (Image credit: SPACE.com/Starry Night Software [Full Story])

Update Aug. 13, 8:33 a.m ET: See our Perseid Observations story here. The peak of the 2010 Perseid meteor shower has passed. It was a strong peak. Additional meteors should be visible Friday night and Saturday morning.

Update Aug. 12, 4:15 p.m. ET: The International Meteor Organization reports that hourly rate for Perseid meteors has climbed from the low 20s Tuesday into the 30s on Wednesday and now into the 40s. This represents the number of meteors observable per under perfectly dark skies. While the typical person's actual observation will be lower, the rising rate -- fully expected -- indicates the peak tonight and Friday morning will indeed be worth viewing, as predicted. --RRB

The annual Perseid meteor shower is already

"On Saturday night, one bolide lit up the field,"

Vapor trails are striking and sometimes colorful streams, looking

"What has struck me so far about this year are not so much

How the meteor shower works

  • Galleries:

This story was corrected to reflect the fact that 20 meteors per hour equates to one every 3 minutes.

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Robert Roy Britt
Chief Content Officer, Purch

Rob has been producing internet content since the mid-1990s. He was a writer, editor and Director of Site Operations at Space.com starting in 1999. He served as Managing Editor of LiveScience since its launch in 2004. He then oversaw news operations for the Space.com's then-parent company TechMediaNetwork's growing suite of technology, science and business news sites. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California, is an author and also writes for Medium.