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Tips for Enjoying the Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid meteor streaking across the early morning skies. Credit: NASA
Perseid meteor streaking across the early morning skies. Credit: NASA

Look Up! Perseid meteors have started to rain down around the world.

According to early global observation reports over the weekend, pre-peak Perseid numbers are starting to ramp up, with some skywatchers already seeing as many as 30 shooting stars per hour. (see also: A Guide to Watching the Spectacular Perseids)

With the moon out of the way during peak meteor times between August 11 and 13 in the overnight hours, expectations are high for a good performance year from the Perseids. As many as 60 to 100 meteors per hour from a dark location may be in the offering.

Here are some tips on getting the most out of your meteor-watching experience:

1. There is no need for binoculars or telescopes to enjoy the celestial fireworks–just unaided eyes. Because the meteors can appear to streak across large parts of the sky, the human eye can soak in large portions of the overhead sky, offering a greater chance to catch one zipping by.

2. Give your eyes at least 15 to 20 minutes to adapt to the darkness of night when you step outside to view the shower. Try to avoid looking at any white lights while under the stars.

Flashlights, porch-lights and headlamps shining into your eyes can set you back as much as 30 minutes in terms of your night adapted vision. As an alternative, use a red colored flashlight for seeing when skywatching. The red color does not interfere with your night vision. It is easy to rig your own red light by taking a few layers of red cellophane gift wrapping and securing it to the end of the flashlight with a rubber band.

3. Seek out a dark location with as little light pollution as possible; the darker the better. More of the fainter meteors will be visible from the countryside, away from city lights.

Even from a suburban backyard or municipal park where there is no direct lights, at least 10 to 30 shooting stars per hour should be visible under clear skies.

For more sky events check out our weekly skywatching column.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Comments

  1. Sarah Arnold
    Hattiesburg,Ms
    January 1, 7:26 pm

    Oh,wait!it’s really pretty

  2. Sarah Arnold
    Hattiesburg, Ms
    January 1, 7:23 pm

    Hey!Andres watch your mouth.So as I was saying this picture is rally pretty.

  3. Jo
    United States
    August 14, 2013, 1:36 am

    Saw seven meteorites in one hour in Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Three were so small I was lucky to have seen. Three others very bright and going odd directions. But the One was spectacular with a large glowing center and a sparkling tail that stretched from the horizon on the north above the mountain up through Cassiopeia. Simply breathtaking . . .

  4. sue leitch
    winchcombe nr cheltenham glos
    August 13, 2013, 3:51 pm

    My boyfriend saw one he looked shocked and amazed as he described it to me !!!!!!!!! wasnt aware what it was

  5. Fernando
    Naples Florida
    August 13, 2013, 8:19 am

    I sawed as early 9:55 P.M.Tuesday August 12 2013 one meteor. It was amazing. Just. Image. NOVEMBER 13 1833. HOW IT WAS EVERY WHERE IN NEW ENGLAND. And. Middle States in North America even Alaska. JESUS said ” The stars shall from heaven.” Matthew 24:29 a great book to read that related to these events and more prophethic The Great controversy page. 333 enjoy these showers even if is one . Thanks. FERNANDO Naples Florida

    ALASKA. Said Jesus:”The stars shall fall from heaven.” Matthew 24:29. The Great. Controversy by Ellen G. White. Explained these prophetic

  6. Naomi Fitzgerald
    United Kingdom
    August 13, 2013, 5:42 am

    I seen 7 shooting stars from my garden in Bromley, SE London. And despite being so near London the last two were extremely bright and longer lasting than the previous five. They were a spectacular sight, and I’ll be waiting for them again tonight!

  7. Scott
    Rural England, 42 miles north of London.
    August 12, 2013, 9:42 pm

    Saw 4 in 10 mins of varying brightness, one with a lingering tail.

  8. libby
    solihull ( england)
    August 12, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Wow seen a few tonight with my son had to find a very dark location though Wow :)

  9. Rachael
    Wales, uk
    August 12, 2013, 8:07 pm

    Wow we’ve just seen about 15 in half an hour – so beautiful

  10. Darren
    Cambridge, UK
    August 12, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Seen 10-12 in the past hour from my garden. Very impressive…. now I am freezing!!

  11. Lottie
    England
    August 12, 2013, 6:06 pm

    Just seen three at 10:55pm

  12. Mandi
    Southern Utah, USA
    August 12, 2013, 4:51 pm

    We headed to Kolob Resevoir near Zion Nat’l Park last night and watched/dozed all night. I would say we averaged 2 per minute. Sometimes there would be a few minutes break and then we’d get a little burst. Other times they were pretty steady. A great experience for my kids!

  13. Deepraj
    India
    August 12, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Awesome i saw 2 in about 20 mins

  14. andrew
    India
    August 12, 2013, 1:21 pm

    it is 10:50PM IST when will the meteor shower arrive

  15. hanna mofokeng and family
    carletonville south africa
    August 12, 2013, 12:34 pm

    waiting impatiently for the showers!!!

  16. Andres Heredia
    August 12, 2013, 11:33 am

    Too bad I live in the Bay Area where it’s always foggy and you can’t see sh*t :(

  17. Night Sky Triplets
    Indonesia
    August 12, 2013, 10:59 am

    Haven’t seen one, still looking forward to it.. Wish us luck

  18. David Ritchie
    Cle Elum, Washington
    August 12, 2013, 2:20 am

    During the hour between 10PM and 11PM, PST, we observed two major fireballs, and two lessor. Plus many incredible stars shooting by us. There is really nothing one can say to describe the emotions evoked.

  19. Farahdilla
    Indonesia
    August 12, 2013, 1:52 am

    I can’t wait the showtime tonight..

  20. Dan
    Earth
    August 12, 2013, 1:40 am

    We saw 2 in 45 mn. No different than on any summer night.

    • Andrew Fazekas
      August 12, 2013, 10:58 am

      Looks like a hit and miss, depending a lot on local sky conditions. I just got a report from Kingston, Ontario, Canada from a dark cottage country location of more than 130 meteors seen between 3 and 4:30 am this morning.

  21. julia spencer
    allentown,pa
    August 12, 2013, 1:40 am

    I was vey lucky to see a meteor pass over my house it took me back to 1967 or 1968 when I was a child at that time I witness a bigger meteorite and it scared the heck out of me but this one I saw tonight was soothing so t speak wow

  22. Shil
    India
    August 12, 2013, 1:01 am

    Excitement building up to witness the Perseid meteor shower.

    http://positivelygood.net