If you like astronomy and cool sights in the sky then you will definitely want to look up tonight. The Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak tonight and will be visible across much of the northern hemisphere.
August is known as ‘meteor month’ because of the multiple shows the caused by outer space rocks streaking through the outer edges of earth’s atmosphere. The shooting stars are visible as they streak across the sky at thousands of miles per hour.
The Perseids are one of skywatchers favorite astronomical shows every year. They occur when Earth moves through the path of comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 through August 24. The debris enters the atmosphere and burns up, which is the streak or train of light you see tracking across the sky. The peak is August 11-13, which means Saturday night into Sunday morning is your best chance to see the action.
Where To Look
You will want to look northward to where the constellation Persius (that’s where the name originates from) is located. It starts out in the northeastern sky and then migrates overhead as the night goes on. It will be in the northwestern horizon as the sun gets ready to rise.
Is This Really Going To Be An Epic Event?
Like many times when internet memes go viral saying things like “once in a lifetime” there is some truth to be questions. This popular image that has been circulating is NOT TRUE. Actually this will not be one of the best Perseid meteor showers in recent memory because of a bright waning gibbous moon. And forget about seeing it all over the world, this is a show for the northern hemisphere.
The moon should block out the light from the fainter meteors, so expect to see around 50 per hour if you are in a dark location.
Where To Watch
You will want to escape the bright lights of any big city and head into a rural area. That should allow you to see a decent show even if the moon is going to be a distraction. Moonrise will happen around 10:50 p.m. so there will be a window of darkness before it’s visible. The most active part of the meteor shower will unfortunately be after that. There is a way to maximize your experience. Sit or stand within a moon shadow where the moon is blocked by a building or tree. The best spot to see the Perseids are at observatories.
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