Look Up For One of Best & Brightest Meteor Showers of the Summer
Get ready for the best meteor shower of the year. The Perseid meteor showers are taking over the skies this August.
The highlight of any summer other than camping and going to the cottage is viewing the annual Meteor Shower.
Meteor Shower Peak
This year the peak night occurs on August 12 into the morning of August 13. There should be 60 to 80 meteors lighting up the night, according to The Backyard Astronomer, Gary Boyle.
What we are seeing is earth plowing through the dusty debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, a 26 km or 16 mi wide mountain of ice, dust, and gravel that last appeared in 1992 in its 133-year orbit around the sun. It will return in the year 2125.
When Can I See the Perseids?
The Perseids rise soon after sunset, but you'll want to wait until they are higher in the sky to see the most meteors. The best meteor-watching hour is 4 AM Eastern August 11 through August 13. There could also be a possibility of enhanced activity on August 13 from 9 PM to 10:45 PM.
Where Can I See the Most Meteors?
Find an area well away from city or street lights with a clear, unclouded view of the night sky. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient -- the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.
How Do I Take Photos?
Avoid taking pictures with your phone. The bright light will destroy your night vision and you'll have to wait 20 minutes for them to dilate so you can see the meteors.
Do I Need a Telescope?
Put away the telescope or binoculars too. Using either reduces the amount of sky you can see, lowering the odds you'll see anything but darkness.
Will There Be Clear Skies?
The bad news is, it looks like Mother Nature won't cooperate in Central New York. The National Weather Service is calling for cloudy skies overnight with a possibility of showers and thunderstorms.