Will You Be Able to See the Perseid Meteor Shower This Weekend?

Mindy Sparks
August 11, 2018

Most meteor showers have a short peak, but the Perseid has a very broad peak because it takes three weeks for Earth to get through the trail of cometary dust of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Steve did not know offhand the time the shower will peak, but said it is best to wait until after 11 p.m.to start looking. "The best instrument to use for any meteor shower is the unaided human eye, because you have the widest possible field of view".

According to NASA, the meteor shower peaks from 4 p.m. (EDT) on the August 12 until 4 a.m. on the August 13.

Even if you find ideal urban viewing conditions, there are a lot of other factors that can affect whether you see meteors, including whether the sky is clear and the properties of meteors themselves.

One paper from 1956 found that numerous meteors were brighter than a magnitude of 5, and many brighter than a magnitude of 3.

He said the meteor activity has been ongoing for more than two weeks and will continue for about another week. Every meteor we see is actually a tiny piece of the comet burning up as it strikes the Earth's atmosphere. It averages about 60 meteors per hour.

Last week Mars was the closest it's been to Earth since 2003. As they burn, they create a bright burst of light across the sky - traveling at about 37 miles-per-second.

For the best viewing, move away from city lights and look to the north. This month, the red planet will be visible at dawn.

Both nights this weekend should produce a spectacle of streaks across the night sky. That will make the light from those meteors really pop!

The Virtual Telescope Project will be streaming a view of the Perseid meteor shower on Sunday from the Castel Santa Maria in Italy's Perugia province, where the community is restoring the 16th-century church that has been damaged by several earthquakes.

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