The Perseids gets its name from the constellation Perseus because meteors seem to spread out from an area surrounding the constellation. This is called the shower’s radiant. This year, Perseids have been streaking across the sky since July 17 and slowly build up to be one of the best meteor viewing experiences of the year for people who reside in the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere viewers will not see as many meteors because Perseus barely rises above the horizon.
The Perseids Meteor Shower will peak this year in the morning of August 12 where meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky. To locate the showers radiant, one must look to the east/northeast in the hours after midnight. This shower is usually very active but this year a waning gibbous moon with 62% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated probably will cause light interference and decrease the amount of visible meteors. The key to viewing any meteor shower is to find a safe, dark place away from man-made lights and lean back in a relaxing position looking toward the darkest part of the sky.Meteor observation still remains one of the most difficult astronomical events to predict, but this year some scientists believe that the Perseids could produce up to 100 meteors per hour. Keep in mind this is an estimate based on perfect viewing conditions and results may vary for people in different locations. However, at the suggestion of some of my colleagues I’ve been asked to keep my reader’s expectations low and urge anyone interested in seeing meteors to not miss this great shower. I truly don’t know what to expect and for me that’s part of the excitement. Because Earth is passing through fragments created by the Comet Swift-Tuttle right now, the shower has already started and will be getting stronger each day until its peak on August 12th. MeteorBlog will be posting meteor facts several times before the peak date. You are welcome to comment on any one of the blog posts and ask questions. Most of the facts that I post will be informative and some will be just plain old-fashioned fun, I hope you enjoy. In the meantime, keep your head up!
- Meteor Mark