Tonight’s the night for the Perseid meteor shower to show its best

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Night Sky photo | Keith Spiro

Tonight’s the night the Perseid meteor shower will peak. See the best meteor shower of the year and enjoy it live or live streamed. Check out these links and enjoy the night sky whether you venture outside or not. It also can be seen over the weekend.

These last 12 months, I’ve been hanging out for a couple of hours every week with Shanil Verani. He is an award-winning astronomer, a passionate science educator, creator/host of Our Island Universe podcast and co-author of Daughter of the Stars, a photo-book about light pollution and the loss of night. We have yet to be in the same physical place but managing the issues of space has never been a problem for an astronomer like Shanil. I consider him a close friend and have learned a lot from him about the night sky. We have also explored time, distance and space travel. The Perseid meteor shower will peak this evening. While tonight might be the best night – the show goes on through the weekend. It’s free and requires no special tools just some patience and a darkened sky.

HOW TO VIEW THE PERSEID METEOR SHOWER LIVE

Try finding a spot away from the bright city lights and also stash that cellphone into your pocket
The widest unrestricted view of the night sky will be your best place to settle in.
Bring a beach chair or blanket. Plan on looking up at the sky for quite a while.

Let your eyes adjust to the dark. It does take about twenty minutes till your eyes adjust.
Just look up.
The best viewing will be after tonight’s crescent moon sets and anytime prior to sunrise.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Quick small streaks of light across a small portion of the sky.
The Perseids are the debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle Comet which orbits between the Sun and something beyond Pluto that was determined by observations dating back to July 8, 1737. Think of a comet as a dirty snowball thrown your way.

WHY NOW?

This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a crescent moon that sets early. Future years (during the comet’s 133 year full orbit) project things like a full Moon and lower meteor activity (2022). For a full chart by year check this out.

ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AND MORE INFORMATION FROM NASA

The Perseids are on the Rise!

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE COMET SWIFT-TUTTLE

(from https://www.spacereference.org/comet/109p-swift-tuttle)

• Categorized as a Halley-type Comet
• Comparable in size to the city of Indianapolis (26.00 km diameter)
• Will pass within 22,944,892 km of Earth in 2126
• Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
• Not a Potentially Hazardous Object

STUCK INDOORS OR CAN’T FIND A DARK SKY OUTSIDE?

There’s a dark sky somewhere any hour of the day

FOR MORE INFORMATION