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Perseid meteors may hide behind clouds

Wed., Aug. 11, 2010, 3:24 p.m.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which reaches its peak tonight through Friday night, may be obscured by clouds for the first two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Partly cloudy skies are forecasted for tonight and mostly cloudy skies are expected on Thursday night when the falling stars could number 50 to 60 each hour.

Friday night is predicted to be clear.

The meteors arrive at the same time each year as the Earth orbits through the densest part of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle in the planet’s annual journey around the sun.

Should clouds dissipate, meteor watchers will get a dark sky for viewing since a new crescent moon will set early in the evening allowing for darker conditions.

Meteor watching is best done away from city lights in places where masses of stars are visible.

Even if it is cloudy tonight, keep looking up since the Perseids fall over a relatively long period from July 23 to Aug. 22 with the peak this year coming tonight and Friday night. The best viewing is typically after midnight.

The meteors are named after the constellation from which they appear to originate in the sky – in this case Perseus which rises around midnight in the northeast.

Sunny skies and warmer weather should return by Thursday and Friday with highs in the middle 80s.

Higher air pressure off the Pacific Ocean is predicted to move onshore this weekend, bringing another round of highs near or above 90 along with plenty of sunshine.

The heating trend could intensify some on Monday, but forecasters said they aren’t sure about whether the direction of temperatures after that. However, they are calling for highs in the 90s on Tuesday as well, but a chance of thunderstorms and showers.

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