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6:55 PM Sun, Feb. 17th

Look to the skies for 'falling stars' this week<BR>

One of the most famous meteor showers ever documented could make an appearance in the skies over Kingman this week - if the clouds don't get in the way.

Perseids Meteor Shower occurs between July 23 and Aug.

22, reaching its maximum performance during the evening of Aug.

12 with the occurrence of about one "shooting star" a minute.

The impressive show of falling stars has been documented for 2000 years and never fails to provide an impressive display, said Ron McQueen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, he said, we might not be able to see much this year.

"The forecast for the area is mostly cloudy skies.

The monsoons may push through ....

There is a possibility of thunderstorms," he said.

McQueen witnessed the phenomenal show last year while driving to Reno, Nev., and while the monsoon rains are needed, said it would be a shame to miss one of the most spectacular shows the skies have to offer.

"The meteor shower seems to come out of the constellation Perseus.

The darker the night and the clearer the skies the better," he said.

Modern astronomers have been documenting the meteor showers since 1983.

In 1993 and 1994, a comet affected the showers and instead of 60 meteorites an hour falling towards the ground, 200 to 500 an hour fell.

McQueen said Perseids Meteor Shower occurs in the "northeast, about halfway up in the sky, late in the evening to midnight, or later."

He said that when people see a falling star, what they're seeing is the trail of light created as small bodies of matter - meteors - enter the Earth's atmosphere a such a velocity that the friction causes the meteor to ignite.

When hundred of meteors fall at the same time, it is called a meteor shower.

According to the Michigan State University science theatre home page, the Earth's atmosphere acts as a buffer zone to protect the planet from the impact of meteors.

In space there is no buffer, so the meteors don't burn.

The rare meteor that makes it through the Earth's atmosphere and hits the planet is called a meteorite.