How to catch the Perseid meteor shower starting Wednesday night


The Perseid Meteor Shower makes its annual display from July 17th - 24th; however, the shower's peak falls on August 12 - 13th.

The Perseids, one of the best meteor showers of the year, will peak this weekend, and depending where you are the viewing conditions could be great.

Dang Vu Tuan Son, chairman of the Vietnam Astronomy and Cosmology Association, said the best time to watch the phenomenon would be in the early hours of Monday morning in the northeastern skies. "New Moon occurs on the 11th so it will not wash out the sky with its brilliance like other years".

This year it will be even more special - the moon won't be spoiling the view.

The best time to see those meteors is at around 11 p.m. ET until dawn the next morning.

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Cooke recommends steering clear of bright city lights in order to get the best view. The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun once every 133 years, so every August, the Earth passes through the comet's debris field.

The Perseids are known both for their epic "fireballs" - explosions of light and color that last longer than those from typical meteors - and for their long, streaking tails. Three years later, an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaperelli identified the comet as the origin 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.

According to Jolene Creighton at Quarks to Quasars, the meteors you'll be able to see during the meteor shower's peak each hour will be blasting into Earth's atmosphere at speeds of around 209,000 kilometres per hour (130,000 miles per hour).

It takes 20 minutes pretty much for your eyes to adjust to the dark and then you'll say oh there's more of them now. No. During August, this loose nest of stars rises above the northeast horizon before midnight.

The meteors can be traced to the Perseus constellation, from which they get their name, which will climb in the northeastern sky as the evening passes. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky so try and find an open area, away from street lights. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn should offer good views in the sky as well, according to Bjerke.