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Where to See It: Supermoon, Perseid Meteor Shower to Illuminate the Sky

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
August 11, 2014; 4:17 AM ET

The summer sky is set to illuminate with impressive power as two astronomical phenomena strike at the same time.

The Perseid meteor showers flash across skies annually in August when the Earth passes through debris trails of shattered comets. Set to peak Aug. 11-13, this year's event coincides with a Supermoon, a moon that shines 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon. The Supermoon will reach its fullness on Sunday, Aug. 10.

While the Supermoon, more traditionally referred to as a perigee full Moon, will be 14 percent clearer than a full moon and brighten the skies to a heightened level, the increase in light will make for trickier viewing of the meteor shower.

Perseids are considered the prime meteor shower of the year due to the length of the wakes of light and color that trails behind them making for a compelling show on Earth. The moon's expanded brightness will compete with the showers making for less clarity of the soaring space debris.

The Perseids show broken pieces of comets barreling through the sky each summer. (Photo/NASA/Michael Menefee)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said that the prime sky-watching periods will fall during night and early morning hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. Clouds pose the largest threat to visibility concerns according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Paquette.

"A dark sky free of clouds is best to seeing meteors and you want to try and be as far away as possible from light pollution," he said.

Finding a location far from city lights and even street lights will enhance views. NASA recommends lying flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up. It will take roughly 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust and be able to catch a glimpse of the meteors.

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The Northeast, Southwest and West Coast will enjoy favorable skies to witness the initial stages of the Supermoon. Those in the Southeast and Midwest will be fighting with thunderstorms Sunday evening making for poor visibility with clouds hampering the sights. The southern mid-Atlantic region may also have difficulties.

As midweek approaches and the Perseids peak, the Midwest and Intermountain West could still be dealing with storms that inhibit prime viewing. Storms hitting the Northeast could obstruct skies and pose a threat to those hoping to catch the meteors.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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