August 7, 2013 6:06 pm

The Perseids Are Back This Weekend!

The Perseid Meteor Shower seen from the International Space Station

The Perseid Meteor Shower, as seen from the International Space Station on August 13, 2011
Credit: Ron Garan, ISS Expedition 28 Crew, NASA

Here’s a recipe for a bit of tasty cosmic cuisine this weekend:

1. Take a bit of stellar dust and debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
2. Sprinkle into Earth’s atmosphere.
3. Lie back and watch the show.

And if the weather cooperates and you’ve got clear skies – it’s looking good for the NY metro area, so I’m hopeful – then you’re in for one of the best meteor showers we get to see each year, The Perseids.

At peak, there can be as many as 100 meteors burning across the sky per hour. But even if you just catch a few, they’re worth the effort. And, according to NASA, the Perseids have the most “fireballs” of any meteor shower. For more information and some great images, watch this NASA video:

Universe Today does a great “Observers Guide” to the Perseids each year, and this year is no exception. According to them, the Moon will be safely out of the sky during key observation times, leading to a darker sky and better viewing.

One other resource we recommend is Sky & Telescope’s “Get Ready for the 2013 Perseids.” According to them, we hit the densest part of the debris stream at 3PM EDT on August 12th, which means the best viewing is either early morning on the 12th or on the 13th for North America and Europe.

Key Viewing Times (LOCAL TIME)

11:00 PM August 11th thru Dawn, August 12th
11:00 PM August 12th thru Dawn, August 13th

And remember, the further you get from a city or other bright light source, the better the viewing.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

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