Perseid Meteor Shower

By: Jill Gilardi Email
By: Jill Gilardi Email

The Perseid meteor shower peaks on Monday and Tuesday night. Earthgrazers are visible each night though before the shower peaks. They are slow and colorful meteors that track low on the horizon.

The best time to look for earthgrazers is between 9:30 PM and 10:30 PM each night. The meteor shower peaks on the night of August 12 and 13th. 100 meteors per hour are possible.

Every night, Earth is plunging deeper into the debris stream of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. They're called the Perseids because they appear to come from the sky in the constellation of Perseus.

So here's a quick rundown of what you need to observe the shower:

1) Find a place that's dark. Some meteors are bright and easy to spot, others fainter. The darker the spot you find away from house and city lights, the better.

2) You don't really need to face Perseus (to the northeast); in fact your best bet is to have as much sky visible as possible. The more sky you can see, the better your chances of seeing more meteors.

3) Be outside after local midnight - literally, halfway between dusk and dawn. After midnight, you're on the part of the Earth facing into the direction of the Earth's travel around the Sun, so you'll see more meteors then.

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