Stargazers in for a treat as Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend
The Perseid meteor shower, one of the best of the year, will peak this weekend, with dozens of shooting stars per hour visible to the naked eye.
The shower will peak on the night of Saturday, August 12, into the early morning of Sunday, August 13. Conditions are expected to be ideal for viewing, with a thin crescent moon that will not wash out the fainter meteors.
Stargazers should be able to count up to 40 to 60 shooting stars per hour, but from dark locations devoid of light pollution, that number could reach 100 visible meteors per hour.
The Perseids are caused by debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. As the comet orbits the sun, it leaves a trail of dust and debris behind it. When Earth passes through this trail, the debris burns up in the atmosphere, creating meteors.
The Perseids are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere, and the best time to view them is after midnight, when the radiant (the point in the sky where the meteors appear to originate) is high in the sky.
To see the Perseids, find a dark location away from city lights. Lie on your back and look up at the sky. You don’t need binoculars or a telescope to see the meteors, but they will be easier to see if you have a clear view of the horizon.
So mark your calendars for the weekend of August 12-13, and get ready for a night of shooting stars!
Here are some additional tips for viewing the Perseid meteor shower:
Find a dark location away from city lights. The darker the sky, the more meteors you will see.Lie on your back and look up at the sky. This will give you the best view of the entire sky.Don’t use binoculars or a telescope. These will only magnify the stars, making it harder to see the faint meteors.Be patient. It can take some time to see your first meteor, but once you do, you’ll be hooked.