Meteor showers are fun to watch, especially when they produce. This Monday and Tuesday nights, August 11 and 12, will provide the best opportunities for viewing one of the most widely observed and dependable of the annual meteor displays, the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The name “Perseid” derives from the constellation of Perseus, from which they appear to emanate. The best time to watch for these swift streaks of light is during the predawn hours, since Perseus does not begin its climb high up into the northeast sky until after midnight on through to the first light of dawn.
To get the best possible view of these “shooting stars,” it is very important to select an observing site that is free of haze, smoke and city lights. Lie down on either a long lawn chair or a blanket, because the grass is often wet with dew on summer nights.
This year, unfortunately, the bright gibbous Moon will be rising around 8:30 p.m. on Monday and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, obscuring many of the fainter meteors. But still, the Perseids occasionally produce brilliant fireballs or meteors that appear to explode in mid-flight (called “bolides”) so they are well worth the effort to look for despite the Moon’s presence. Such meteors can be quite spectacular and bright enough to attract attention even in the moonlight.