How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend

09 August, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Perseid meteor shower

The peak nights for this year's shower will be from August 11 to 12 and August 12 to 13, with more than 100 meteors visible per hour, according to Gary Boyle, an Ottawa-based astronomer. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year's Perseid meteors.

This year the meteor shower will peak on the night of August 12, going into August 13. Nope! Although the peaks are the best times (as long as there's no moonlight), annual meteor showers typically last weeks, not days... building up gradually and then falling off rapidly.

The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes through the trail of dust left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit of the sun every 133 years. Observers in mid-northern latitudes will have the best views.

"Under a very dark sky, you might see up to one Perseid per minute late on Sunday night or after midnight on Monday morning". So you can definitely catch them in advance.

They should start whizzing across the sky before midnight, but the best displays will be in the hours before dawn.

The higher the Perseids' radiant during the peak, the more meteors you will see.


The Perseid shower is named after the constellation of Perseus.

Up! Seriously...just find yourself a piece of wide-open sky, without light pollution, lie back and look up.

"Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness", Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope senior editor said in a statement.

But if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, you can follow the Perseids and trace their trajectory backwards to Perseus. Half of watching a meteor shower is waiting around for them to appear.

While you'll get the best meteor rates in a rural area, far from light pollution, you still might be able to see some meteors from a city or suburb.

Quiet outdoor areas with unobstructed views of the horizon, such as fields and big open parks are usually a good bet when looking for a meteor viewing spot.

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