The Year’s Biggest Meteor Shower Is This Week: How To See It

Photo: Robinson/ REX Shutterstock.
Here's another reason to go on that camping excursion and get out of the light-polluted city — right now is the prime time to stargaze. According to NASA, the Perseid meteor show has been visible every night since late July. Its peak, however, will hit August 12 to August 13, just after midnight and during a new moon. So if you're going to spend an evening stargazing this year, NASA recommends that Wednesday, August 12, be the night. Why? The Perseid shower is commonly considered the best of the year, full of fast, bright meteors — and plenty of them, at a rate of up to 100 meteors an hour — that often leave trademark, visible trails in the sky. "Perseids are also known for their fireballs [a very bright meteor]. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak," according to information on 2015's Perseid shower posted on NASA's website. This year in particular will be astounding, since there won't be any moonlight to detract from the show. "Moonlight is the bane of meteor watchers because bright moonlight washes out faint meteors," Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope, told the L.A. Times. Naturally, getting out of the city to avoid light pollution is also key. NASA recommends planning your stargazing activities for the hours right before dawn, but the meteor shower will start after 10 p.m. To see meteor activity in your area, check out NASA's estimator.

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