Perseids 2018: Where and how to watch the dazzling meteor shower

Mindy Sparks
August 10, 2018

The best time for viewing will fall on the nights between 11 August and 13 August, although the evening of 12 August will optimal, with experts suggesting that up to 100 meteors per hour will be visible.

The moon won't be making an appearance this weekend, instead about 50 meteorites per hour will light up the sky offering star gazers a dazzling show between midnight and dawn. But you don't need to stare at Perseus to spot meteors - in fact, it may be better to simply stare unfocused into the sky and let your more-sensitive peripheral vision do the heavy lifting.

The Perseids meteor shower is basically a mass of shooting stars, which light up the skies for avid stargazers below each year.

"This year, we'll be lucky the moon won't be shining most of the night", Bjerke said.

The comet that left the Perseid meteor stream is a piece of dirty ice about 26km in diameter called 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Unfortunately, there's always the chance that bad weather like fog or rain will create unfavorable viewing conditions. It's a rich meteor shower, and it's steady. And if you want to know how to pronounce "Perseid" correctly, it sounds a little like "Purse-y-id", here's a video from NASA to help.

For casual and die-hard astronomers alike, the middle of August means the return of the Perseid meteor shower. This almost two-month spread suggests that comet debris has spread widely since Swift-Tuttle first passed though the inner solar system thousands of years ago.

-The best time to see the Perseids is after 2 a.m. local time, when the Perseus constellation is high in the sky, reported. Under dark skies, 60 or more meteors are typically seen each hour. Look to the northeast about 40 degrees off the horizon.

"If you have seen a few of them you have seen them all", he said.

And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get a good view, or even to wish upon a shooting star (or several dozen of them).

Remember it takes your eyes about 30 minutes to fully adjust to the dark, and don't worry about acquiring any fancy equipment - you'll be able to see everything easily with the naked eye, especially if you can get out of the city and away from the smog and light pollution.

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