Aug 11, 2020 - Science

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this week

A perseid meteor in 2019. Photo: Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images
A perseid meteor in 2019. Photo: Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images

The Perseid meteor shower — one of the best cosmic shows of the year — hits its peak this week, and interested observers with dark skies around the world should be able to see it.

The state of play: The peak of the shower is expected to occur late tonight and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The best time to catch sight of some streaking meteors is right after the Sun sets until the Moon rises just after local midnight, according to Sky & Telescope.

  • "These 'shooting stars' can appear anywhere and everywhere in the sky — you don't have to look at the radiant to see them," Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope's observing editor, said in a statement. "So the best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, usually straight up."
  • The best place to see the shower is as far from city lights as possible, with a clear view of the sky. Be sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and don't ruin your night vision by looking at your phone.

Context: The Perseid Meteor Shower happens each year as Earth passes through the dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the Sun every 133 years.

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