The Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the most stable meteor showers of the year. This year, it peaks on a moonless August night, as the new Moon will set early; promising a spectacular show with about one shooting star per minute under dark clear skies.
When is the Peak?
The Perseid Meteor Shower will peak in the early hours of August 13. At the beginning of August, the meteors visible after midnight average 5 per hour. Each night of the month, the average will increase to reach about 60-100 per hour on the night of the peak in the predawn hours. The night of August 11-12 will have similar, or close, number of visible meteors. The best viewing window is in the early hours of the morning after 2:00 AM. The number of visible shooting stars intensifies every day in August as the peak approaches, and every night after 2:00 AM.
Who can see the Perseids?
This meteor shower favors the skies of the northern hemisphere. Those who live further south will see fewer meteors. The southern hemisphere has the chance to view around 20 meteors per hour at peak under dark skies.
What causes the Perseids?
Meteor showers are created when the Earth passes through the trail of a comet. Comet Swift-Tuttle is responsible for the Perseids display. As debris from the comet enters Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, the meteors burn up, creating a spectacle of shooting stars. Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun every 133 years and it will be back in 2126.
How to view the meteor shower?
You will see the shooting stars striking everywhere across the sky. You don’t need to look for the Radiant which is the point from which they appear to originate.
Looking north to northeast, the meteors will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus. Find a dark spot, as far away as possible from light pollution, and hope for clear skies. There is no need for any equipment to view the meteor shower, and you don’t need to know the constellations. Just look up, and enjoy.