What you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower


Coming to a sky in the Northern Hemisphere is a dazzling show for stargazers: the Perseid meteor shower.

The Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend August 12th-13th.

"You should be able to see them just by looking out of the window". According to Sky and Telescope, comet peepers can expect to see around 60 meteors an hour during the peak, with no bright moon mucking up the view.

Starting tonight and through the weekend, Shenandoah National Park will be hosting the "Night Sky Festival", with space-related activities, and a front row seat to a meteor shower. With the moons phase nearly at a new moon, that will help you see the meteors even more!

The shower should be visible on both sides of the equator, although it is reportedly a better watch if you're in the mid-northern latitudes, meaning the top spots are European countries, as well as the USA and Canada. In rural areas, the showers should be visible within a few minutes.

Part of the reason the Perseids really sizzle in the summer sky in the northern hemisphere isn't the seasonal heat, but rather their speed, which can be almost 60 kilometers per second (134,000 miles per hour). The ice and dust from that field then burn up in our atmosphere, creating the meteor shower.

The meteors will appear to originate from the constellation Perseus which will be in the northeast sky. But when comets come close to the heat of the Sun, their ice melts and the remaining matter (the meteoroids) is left behind in the orbit of the comet.

The shower occurs every year between July 17 and August 24, and tends to peak around August 9 to 13. Steve recommended those who want to watch the shower avoid cities or places subject to light pollution.

Will you be watching the meteor shower? Around 10 p.m., the meteors' visibility should begin to increase.