The celestial spectacles above Houston continue with one of the biggest meteor showers of the year is set to light up the skies later this weekend.
The Perseid Meteor Shower will soon reach its peak and with exceptional viewing conditions expected, it’s set to be a show you don’t want to miss!
What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
As you may know, meteors, also known as shooting stars, are viewable when Earth crosses the orbit of a comet and its debris enters the atmosphere causing tiny dust trails.
The Perseid shower is associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet. When the tiny bits of dust trains strike Earth’s upper atmosphere, friction with the air causes each particle to heat and burn up. We see the result as a meteor. See more facts about meteor showers.
Viewable from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid Meteor Shower is produced upon Earth’s annual passage through a belt of debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet.
The first record of this phenomenon can be traced back to 36 AD. Since then, numerous references to the showers have been recorded throughout the millennia. The showers get their name from the Perseus constellation of their origin.
Why is the Perseid Meteor Shower significant?
According to Almanac.com, “the Perseids’ fame comes from the fact that it reliably has the brightest and most numerous meteors.”
It is known by astronomers and zealous stargazers as one of the best celestial shows of the year with it averaging between 50 and 100 bright meteors visible per hour during the shower’s peak.
This year many forecasts are predicting over 100 Perseids per hour. With a waning crescent moon only 12% illuminated it will be exceptional viewing conditions to see the numerous shower in dark skies.
When is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
The peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower this year is expected during the evening of Saturday, August 12, and the morning of Sunday, August 13 meaning many of you won’t need to worry about being tired or late for work the next day!
Though this will be the best window to see the meteor shower it will go on for nearly all of August for at least another two weeks after its peak. With a very slim, waning crescent moon causing dark skies there is a good chance of seeing a good number of meteors on days either side of August 12-13.
How can I best experience the Perseid Meteor Shower?
Meteor count is always highest in the hours around midnight way after sunset and before dawn when the skies are at the darkest they will be. According to Time and Date, on Saturday, August 12, the sun will set at 8:05 before the moon rises at 04:05 on Sunday, August 13.
Unlike 2022’s Perseid Meteor Shower which was tarnished by poor viewing conditions, this year there looks to be great for stargazers. Regardless of this, it is still encouraged to head as far away as you can from artificial lighting even if you pride yourself on having picture-perfect 20/20 vision.
Find a secluded area that isn’t affected by light pollution from city lights, face northeast, and allow your eyes to adjust to the dark for at least 20 minutes. You don’t need any special equipment or skills to see the meteors but bringing a chair is encouraged for comfort as it can be a waiting game and binoculars will enable you to get a closer look at the interstellar spectacle.
Check out this light pollution map to find a dark sky near you!
[Featured image from Shutterstock]