Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Science | By

Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight

Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight

According to NASA, visible meteor rates are down from over 60 per hour from last year's shower, to just 15-20 per hour because of the brightness of the moon.

"You do not need any telescopes or binoculars, just normal human eyesight, oh, and a clear sky, but a few clouds won't spoil the view especially as you have all the hours of darkness to see them and this shower is known for producing some brilliant fireballs". Sky watchers will have the best luck from 10pm Monday and on into the wee hours, notes the Washington Post.

Unfortunately, the moon will be shining brightly tonight, washing out some of the streaks of light.

Every year at this time, the night sky gives the gift of the Perseid Meteor Shower. This year, the peak - or when meteor rates hit more than 60 per hour - comes between August 12 and August 13.

AMS reports that 50 to 75 meteors per hour at maximum are expected during Perseid. "The results of these intersections are called meteor showers when the tiny bits of debris burn up in Earth's atmosphere".

The shower is usually active between July 17 and August 24, but the number of meteors peaks in mid-August.

The Perseids will be limited this year, however, by moonlight, which will effectively block viewing of numerous fainter meteors. They are visible in the Northern Hemisphere and can be viewed in skies all across.

Experts say it's at its peak tonight and tomorrow night. They were linked to the comet Swift-Tuttle, in 1862, by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli.

The Draconid meteor shower is the next meteor shower to mark on your calendar, which falls on October 8, followed by the Orionid meteor shower, which will take place on October 21. If you trace back all of the meteors during the upcoming shower, they will all originate from a part of the sky near the constellation Perseus.

A live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville will be available on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook starting around 7 p.m. CT and continuing until the early hours of August 13. NASA plans to livestream the meteor shower on its NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page. But the Moon sets almost an hour earlier on August 12, providing a longer dark-sky window for meteor viewing.

To watch up close, the University of Waterloo is hosting a star party from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.

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