Aug 11, 2022 - Science

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower

Streaks of meteors streaming in a dark, star-dotted sky.
A time lapse of meteors streaking through the sky. Photo: NASA/JPL

The Perseid meteor shower — typically one of the best of the year — is set to peak this week, but a bright Moon could wash out all but the brightest shooting stars.

The big picture: This meteor shower comes around each year as the Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was last visible from Earth in 1992.

State of play: In a typical year, observers checking out the Perseids from dark parts of the world can see 50–100 meteors per hour during the peak of the shower.

  • This year, however, people watching in dark conditions in North America will likely only be able to see 10–20 meteors per hour during the shower's peak from late Friday night to the early hours of Saturday morning, according to NASA astronomer Bill Cooke.
  • “Sadly, this year’s Perseids peak will see the worst possible circumstances for spotters," Cooke added in a statement.

How it works: If you still want to check out the Perseids, the best way is to head out to a dark area free of clouds and far from city lights.

  • The Moon will still wash out the sky, but if you allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness — such as it is — you should hopefully be able to see at least a few meteors during the shower's peak.
  • The peak of the shower will likely occur between midnight and dawn on Saturday.
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