Monday, 20 August, 2018

Perseid meteor shower: how to see shooting stars this weekend

Theresa Hayes | 09 August, 2018, 19:07

This year the meteor shower will peak on the night of August 12, going into August 13.

Every August there is an opportunity to see meteor showers and this weekend is your chance for 2018. So you can definitely catch them in advance.

Even if you aren't an avid astronomer, you'll still have a great view. The peak will be from 9.00 pm on Sunday 12th August to 4.30 am on Monday 13th August.

Even though this may be somewhat of a down year, the Perseids still typically are one of the best meteor shows of the year.

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

"The Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, visible in the northern sky soon after sunset this time of year". It's a rich meteor shower, and it's steady.

This month, our skies will be lit up with yet another celestial spectacle: the Perseid meteor shower, the shower NASA calls the 'best of the year'.

If you'd rather watch the Perseid meteor shower from the comfort of your own home, the Virtual Telescope Project is live broadcasting the shower from scenic Castel Santa Maria, Italy, beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST on August 12.

"Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness", J. Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, said in a statement.

While you'll get the best meteor rates in a rural area, far from light pollution, you still might be able to see some meteors from a city or suburb.

So when is the Perseid meteor shower?

If you are in a city, try to get somewhere at least somewhat sheltered from lights, maybe a park or backyard.

During the maximum, or peak, Sunday night and early Monday morning, it could be possible to catch as many as 110 meteors in an hour, or almost two per minute on average.

Dim meteors appear as a momentary flash of light while the brighter ones leave a glowing streak.

That's when the peak will start to build as Earth drifts through the most dense part of a cloud of cosmic debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes by our planet and the sun once every 133 years.