Perseid Meteor Showers Peak This Week
By MARC TORRENCE (Patch National Staff)
The brightest meteor shower of the year is coming up, and it should be very easy to see.
The 2015 Perseid meteor shower began July 13 and runs to August 26, with activity peaking around August 12 and 13.
The Perseids are typically the brightest of the year. And Earthsky.org says that this year should be an especially good year for Perseids since the moon will not come out until after sunrise, avoiding the pesky bright light it gives off.
Earthsky says the best time for viewing is after midnight, when the meteors will pick up steam until the “wee hours before dawn.”
It will appear to originate from the constellation Perseus, which will be in the northeastern sky on the nights of the August 12 and 13.
Meteor showers happen when the earth passes through the orbit of a comet. Bits of the comet that have broken off pass through earth’s atmosphere, and when they burn up, they create a gorgeous streaking pattern across the night sky.
NASA estimates that at its peak, Perseids will produce up to 100 meteors per hour streaking at 37 miles per second.
Here are some other tips to get the most out of your meteor shower-watching experience:
Find an open location away from bright city lights and other light pollution.
Bring something comfortable to sit or lie down on and try to fill your entire peripheral vision with the night sky.
If you’re in a colder climate, dress warmly.
Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. This can take up to 20 minutes and can be disrupted by looking at a bright phone or tablet screen. If you need to shine a light on something, use a flashlight with a red filter, the easiest color on your eyes.
Be patient. Give yourself anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, and the streaking meteors should be easily spotted against the still night sky once your eyes are fully adjusted.
Don’t worry about using telescopes or binoculars. Those devices may actually make it harder for you to see meteors, since they only cover a small portion of the sky. You should be able to easily see the show, and more of it, with just your own two eyes.
(Photo credit: NASA)