August 6th, 2014
The annual Perseid (Per-SEE-uhd) Meteor Shower is about to hit its peak with anywhere from 50 to 100 meteors per hour streaking across the night sky. Unfortunately for those looking for a brilliant show this year you may have to fight with a nearly full moon in the sky during their August 12th and 13th climax. The Perseids are widely considered to annually be the best meteor shower of the year and they’re all thanks to debris from the comet Swift Tuttle. As the earth’s path crosses through this comet’s debris cloud, meteors are created as the debris falls into the earth’s atmosphere.
Even though the peak of the meteor shower isn’t for another week, the coming nights heading into this weekend may actually be your best chance to catch some of the activity from this meteor shower. The meteors in the sky will appear to originate near the constellation Perseus in the Northeast sky. According to NASA, the best opportunity to see the meteors will be in the PRE-DAWN hours. Who’s ready to set that alarm clock a little early?
But you don’t necessarily need to just look northeast to see the shooting stars. If you look up long enough you’re likely to see a few of the meteors, but again, you’ll probably be contending with a bright (almost full) moon in the sky so they may be a little bit harder to see.
NASA also states that the Perseid Meteor Shower is also known for fireballs. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and can persist longer than the average meteor streak, basically due to larger pieces of comet material clashing with the earth’s atmosphere.
Good luck, hopefully you see some shooting stars over the next week or so!