Courtesy of American Meteor Society

Perseid Meteor Shower peaks over the next few days

By: David M. Higgins II

The much-anticipated meteor shower joins two other waning stargazing wonders in August. 

The Perseids are here! This much-anticipated cosmic event is one of the largest meteor showers that grace the night skies during the year, and if you are lucky, you can see a beautiful show by not one, but three showers, by simply looking up.

The Perseid meteor shower is active now through August 26, with its peak on August 12 and 13. This stargazing wonder is predicted to offer 50 to 75 meteors per hour at peak, so you definitely want to schedule some watch time. In addition, NASA’s cameras appear to be picking up an unusually high number of fireballs during this year’s shower, which are really bright meteors that can be as big as golf balls. 

While it will peak Monday, August 12, into the morning of August 13, unfortunately, the moon isn’t making this one easy to see, as it will be almost full during this time. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t see some cosmic beauties streak across the sky. Astronomers are suggesting to catch the shower from now to August 9 to avoid the moon’s interference. 

The Perseids are following on the heels of the waning Delta Aquariid meteor shower, which peaked in July but will still produce about 16 meteors per hour until August 23. If you are super lucky, you will also catch the tail end of the Alpha Capricornids shower, which ends around August 11. This shower is fairly small, but it where it really shines, literally, are the noticeably bright fireballs it sends across the sky. The show peaked on July 30, but if you gaze skyward now, you may still catch a glimpse. 

Fun Perseid Meteor Shower Facts (courtesy of NASA) :

  • Meteor showers get their names from the constellation in where their radiant is located. Perseids come from Perseus.
  • The Perseid meteor shower was first observed about 2,000 years ago and recorded in the Chinese annals.
  • The color of a meteor’s tail is caused by the ionization of molecules, such as oxygen, which appears as green.

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