Get your wishes ready for shooting stars galore this week.
The Perseids are here! This much-anticipated cosmic event is one of the largest meteor showers that grace the night skies during the year, and if you are lucky, you can see a beautiful show by not one, but three showers, by simply looking up.
The Perseid meteor shower started in mid-July and is active through August 26, with its peak this Tuesday, August 11, through early morning on August 12, but you can definitely still enjoy a great show several days after the peak. This stargazing wonder is predicted to offer 50 to 75 meteors per hour at peak, so you definitely want to schedule some watch time.
Luckily for us, the moon will only be about 50 percent full during peak viewing, which will give us all decent viewing to catch the many meteors streaking across the sky. Last year, the moon was full during the shower's peak, which put a bit of a damper on this popular event.
The Perseids are following on the heels of the waning Delta Aquariid meteor shower, which peaked in July but will still produce about a few meteors per hour until August 23. If you are super lucky, you will also catch the tail end of the Alpha Capricornids shower, which ends around August 15. This shower is fairly small, but it where it really shines, literally, are the noticeably bright fireballs it sends across the sky. The show peaked on July 30, but if you gaze skyward now, you may still catch a glimpse.
You have your best chance to see the meteors if you get far away from city lights and give your eyes at least 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. You can also find International Dark Sky-designated communities and national parks in your area here, for your best chance for a pristine night sky.
Fun Perseid Meteor Shower Facts (courtesy of NASA) :
- Meteor showers get their names from the constellation in where their radiant is located. Perseids come from Perseus.
- The Perseid meteor shower was first observed about 2,000 years ago and recorded in the Chinese annals.
- The color of a meteor's tail is caused by the ionization of molecules, such as oxygen, which appears as green.
What do you think? Will you have your eyes on the skies this month? Let us know in the comments, and happy stargazing!