July 16th, 2013 by James Ayre
The Perseid meteor shower — arguably the best meteor shower of the year — will be peaking this year on August 12 2013. While that’s still awhile off, the Perseids will start to become visible any day now — they just won’t reach their peak activity until around August 10 – 13 2013. The New Moon will be on August 6th, so the best days for viewing the metro shower will probably begin right around then.
The Perseids meteor shower is regularly one of the best astronomical events of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and 2013 is no different — 2013’s Perseids are expected to reach peak rates of up to 70 meteors an hour when seen from a region with dark skies. Your best bet is to watch for them sometime in the early morning hours — sometime after 2 am or so, but earlier in the night should still offer a good show. And to clarify — the exact peak will be in the early morning hours of August 12/late-night on August 11, though any of the days surrounding that date should offer very good shows.
2013 is going to be a particularly good year for watching the Perseids thanks to the fact that the crescent Moon will be setting right before the meteor shower starts hitting its peak — so the sky should be really nice and dark, perfect meteor viewing conditions. And something to note — while the Northern Hemisphere gets a better show than the Southern Hemisphere, those in the Southern Hemisphere should still get a decent show provided that the weather cooperates.
The meteors will appear to be originating from the constellation of Perseus — located in the northeast portion of the sky as seen at night in the Northern Hemisphere during August.
As always, for those wanting the best experience there are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
– Get comfortable. A good reclining chair, warm clothes or blankets, and some hot cocoa or coffee, all go a long way towards making the experience enjoyable.
– The farther away that you can get from city lights the better. The darkest sky possible is what you want.
– You’ll need to give your eyes time to adjust to the dark in order to see many of the meteors easily, so turn your mobile devices off or dim the screen to its lowest setting.
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