July 31st, 2013 by James Ayre
The Perseid meteor shower — consistently one of the best mentor showers of the year — is nearly here. While peak of the prolific Perseids won’t be until August 12 2013, the meteor shower will offer a good show throughout most of early August — and overlaps with the tail-end of the Delta Aquarids. Something else to keep in mind — the New Moon will be on August 6, so anytime around then should be a great time to start enjoying the meteor shower, as the night will be nice and dark.
The Perseids usually reach a peak rate of somewhere around 50-100 meteors an hour (the prediction this year is for 70 an hour) — though sometimes far more. So if you can only make time for one meteor shower a year, this should probably be the one. They usually produce the most meteors sometime in the early morning hours — say, sometime around 2-3am. The meteors will appear to be radiating out of the constellation of Perseus, in the northeast portion of the sky as seen at night in the Northern Hemisphere during August — but you’ll be able to see them regardless of what part of the sky you are watching. They are usually some of the brightest nod fastest meteors of the year, and often leave behind persistent trails. Peak activity is usually sometime between August 10 – 13, but they are visible to some degree throughout all of August.
For more information on the other great meteor showers of 2013, see: Meteor Showers 2013, Dates and Times, Perseids, Geminids, Leonids, Orionids, Draconids, Taurids, Etc.
And a couple of things to note/clarify:
– The exact peak this year will be in the early morning hours of August 12 (late-night on August 11).
– The Northern Hemisphere gets a better show than the Southern Hemisphere does, but those in the Southern Hemisphere will still get a pretty good one.
– When watching for meteors one of the most important things is to get comfortable. A nice reclining chair, some warm clothes or blankets, coffee, etc, all help to make the experience more enjoyable.
– Get as far away from city lights as you can. What you want is the darkest sky that you can find.
– Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. In order to see the most meteors possible, you’ll first have to get used to the dark. So turn your mobile devices off, or at least dim the screen to its lowest possible setting.
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