Perseids Meteor Shower: How to Watch the Breathtaking Event on August 11

These are the best nights to look up.

by Josie Rhodes Cook

The Perseid meteor shower is back, space enthusiasts. The Perseids peak during mid-August. NASA calls this meteor shower the best one of the year, so you’re definitely not going to want to miss this celestial event.

Although NASA reports that the Perseids are active between July 14 and August 24, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told on Thursday that the shower’s peak will be most visible the nights of August 11 and August 12, with the second night possibly offering better viewing. He added: “The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and that’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it.”

Here’s how to catch it.

A meteor going through the big dipper.

Flickr / Marty the Adventurer

What Is the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Every year, as Earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle’s tail of debris, the Perseid meteor shower occurs. It’s the biggest, best meteor shower of the year, and when it peaks, you should be able to see about 60 meteors streak across the sky every hour.

The space debris that “interacts” with our atmosphere and results in the Perseids originates from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, NASA reports. And the point in the sky from which the Perseids seem to come — also known as their radiant — is the constellation Perseus.

Where Can You See the Perseid Meteor Shower?

The Perseids will be most visible in the Northern Hemisphere and clearest during pre-dawn hours, according to NASA. No matter the time of night, on the nights of August 12 and 13, Perseid meteors can be seen across the heavens, but the American Meteor Society advises that you should “aim your center of view about half-way up in the sky” for the most successful viewing.

Meteors of the Perseid meteor shower in 2017.

Flickr / Martijn Nijenhuis

When Can You See the Perseid Meteor Shower?

While the Perseids are active between July 14 and August 24, the best time to see the shower starts August 11, thanks to the new moon that day.

During the peak, skywatchers should be able to see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time. NASA reports that it’s possible to see meteors in the shower as early as 10 p.m. local time, but pre-dawn hours are better for viewing.

What Do I Need to See the Perseid Meteor Shower?

The Perseid meteor shower is visible to the naked eye, so no equipment is necessary. The best thing to do is go to a dark area, like the suburbs or a more rural area. It might take your eyes a little bit to adjust to the darkness, so be patient.

The Perseid meteor shower may be an annual event, but it’s such an exciting celestial show that it’s always worth another look.

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