Are you ready to see some fireballs in the sky? It’s almost time for Perseid meteor shower to reach its peak by putting on what is typically the best meteor shower of the year.
Just a word of caution to skywatchers: The month of August will be slightly past its final quarter phase just as the Perseid meteor shower will peak. As a result, the moonlight will make it tougher to see all these stars – as many as 60 per hour.
However, the view should be better than last year, when the moon was very close to its full phase. Experts say you can still catch a decent amount of shooting stars ̵
Although the Perseid meteor shower 2020 will be best on Tuesday 11 August and Wednesday 12 August, it already produces enough meteors to make it worth doing some early stargazing.
When to look for Perseids
Experts from EarthSky.org say the view can still be quite good as late as Wednesday morning, late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, as long as the sky is clear.
It will still be possible to see some Perseids for 10 days or so after the peak. Although there will be a decrease in number, there will be less moonlight to illuminate the sky, with the moon waning every night until August 17, when there will be moonless skies all night.
Where to see Perseid meteor shower
You can see Perseid meteors from almost anywhere, but experts say you increase your chances if you go to a park or open space in a rural location, as far away as possible from bright city lights and street lighting.
Good timing also helps.
“The best time to see a meteor shower is after midnight,” said Amie Gallagher, head of planetarium at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerset County, before the 2018 Perseid meteor shower. . ”
Experts at NASA also say that it is best to wait until after midnight to look for the Perseid meteors – preferably during the morning hours – although some meteors may be visible as early as 10 pm
If you’re wondering, you do not need a telescope or binoculars – just your eyes.
What are the Perseid meteors?
Although they appear large from Earth, the Perseid meteors are actually small pieces of debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle tail. The comet is tipping around the sun, leaving a trail of debris, and every August our planet passes through the debris.
Skywatchers on Earth can see some of the debris, which looks like shooting stars. As the earth rotates, the majority of our planet lacks most of the comet waste before midnight.
This is why the best time to show Perseid meteor shower is after midnight, at any time until dawn. These hours are ideal for seeing most shooting stars, and perhaps even some larger and brighter meteors, known as fireballs.
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