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Perseid meteor shower: NASA wants help counting shooting stars

August 11, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • A couple gaze toward the Milky Way hoping to see meteors streaking earthward.
A couple gaze toward the Milky Way hoping to see meteors streaking earthward. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to result in a dazzling display of shooting stars this weekend.

And NASA would like your help counting them.

The nation's space agency has developed an app for Android and iPhones to help amateur sky-watchers "count meteors in a scientific way and report the results to us," according to Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

Tweet us your Perseid photos at #LATPerseid

The Perseid meteor shower data collected by your smartphone can be used by Cooke's office to study and model the Perseid debris stream.

"Meteor Counter" is available for free in the Android Marketplace and Apple's App Store.

EXPLAINER: NASA on why this year's Perseid meteor shower will be the best

For astronomy buffs, the Perseid meteor shower is as much a part of summer as hot dogs and swimwear. They splash across the skies at roughly this time every year.

But this year's display is expected to be especially spectacular due to a number of factors, including a crescent moon. At the shower's peak, the shooting stars could arrive a a rate of as many as 100 per hour, according to NASA.


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