We have many meteor showers throughout the year, but here are 2 that I always look forward to the most. They are the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December. These 2 meteor showers tend to produce the highest rate of meteors per hour. These 2 usually produce around 80-120 per hour in very dark spots. I laugh when people pump up other meteor showers that have peaks of 10-20 per hour and occur during an almost full moon.
That is why this year’s Perseids will be the best of 2015 because there is a new moon. Meaning moonlight won’t be an issue. Due to the darker skies more meteors will be visible to the naked eye. Though the Geminids in December won’t be too bad either because there will be just a sliver of a crescent moon during them this year.
Since 2008 the NASA all-sky cameras have caught more fireballs during the Perseids than any other meteor shower through the year.
The meteor shower is going on already it actually started back on July 13th and goes until August 26th. This week is the peak and the peak day is going to be the night of the August 12th into the morning of 13th. Each night this week meteor can be seen, but late Wednesday night is the best night. Later in the night into the morning is best as the radiant or Perseus gets higher in the sky after midnight.
Where to look?
Look northeast after midnight until sunrise. The radiant is in the constellation Perseus, but you don’t necessarily have to be looking there. The meteors can be seen throughout the entire sky. I often like to set my camera up just left or right of the radiant for pictures. You get more trails that way.
Tips for best viewing:
Get to the darkest place you can alway from lights. Outside of the city is best but even in the city you can see these. Just find an area away from street lights and other light pollution. Don’t worry so much about the radiant just pick the darkest part of the sky. Grab a blanket or chair that reclines. Let you eyes adjust and enjoy, you’ll be surprised how many more you see as your pupils get larger and adjust to the darkness.
Looks great, clear skies expected both Wednesday, Thursday and even Friday nights and the air will be drier making for even better conditions.
Cloud cover forecast:
- Nomenclature that might serve you well this week: Meteor: the flash of light you see from debris burning up as it enters the atmosphere, not the debris itself.meteoroid: the debris itself, as it travels through the atmosphere, meteorite: any part of a meteoroid that survives the fall and lands on Earth.