Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

How to watch this weekend's Perseid meteor shower

How to watch this weekend's Perseid meteor shower

"During a good Perseid shower under ideal conditions you can see about one meteor per minute", Cooke said. Plus, the best time to see these shooting stars will be right before or just after moonrise this weekend, considering the moon will still be so bright. The best time to watch Perseids meteor shower for the stargazers will be after midnight from a dark open space.

However, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke believes the Perseids will be a little more hard to see than expected. Meteor showers are tiny dust particles, debris left over from a comet, in this case Swift-Tuttle. "To alleviate this problem one could try to view the display before the moon rises, which would be approximately 23:00 local summer time on the evening of the 11th", the IMO said.

Visibility should still be very good the following night (12-13) but it is Friday night into Saturday morning at which it will be best. Get to higher ground so you can see more of the sky, increasing your chances for watching as many fiery meteors as possible fly by.

Perseid meteor shower to peak on August 12
Relax outside for a few hours and after 30 minutes of adjusting your eyes to the dark environment, you'll see hundreds of meteors. Alternatively, a live broadcast of the shower will be shown via the Slooh website on August 12 from 8 p.m.

Larger pieces (even just pea-sized) can blossom into a trailing "fireball" that sears both the night sky and viewers' retinas. It is best to avoid pollution when planning to witness such an astronomical event, so a countryside sky may offer a better view. Some years, like 2016, there can be up to 150 to 200 per hour!

To see the meteor shower, you don't need a telescope, binoculars or any other equipment; all you need is your eyes. Thirty minutes is usually necessary to adjust to the darkness and to see meteors - if you are lucky you may see two to three per minute.

At Babcock State Park, naturalist Abby Rice will provide meteor-spotting guidance during a Perseid Party that starts at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Boley Lake.

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This is an annual event that occurs across in the skies in the Northern Hemisphere from July 17th through August 24th. "These meteors are called Perseids because they seem to fly out of the constellation Perseus", Nasa said in a statement. Dr Meghan Gray, a researcher at University of Nottingham, said, "These meteor showers happen every year in August".

"When the comet gets close to the sun - not that close, but in the inner solar system - it melts a little and leaves a lot of debris behind", explained Cathy Cox, Ph.D., a physics professor at Lake Tahoe Community College.

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