Perseid meteor shower (Photo Credit: NASA)
Best meteor shower of the year, known as the Perseids, will reach its peak on the night of Monday August 12, into the early morning hours of Tuesday August 13. Shooting stars are about to rain down from the heavens and illuminate the night sky. Yes, you read it right. These days you have been hearing about the asteroids, meteoroids and comets. The meteors are believed to be caused when our planet crosses the orbital path of Comet 96P/Machholz. Also, when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes and turns into a meteor. Well, this is what we see as a streak of light in the sky. Meteors are sometimes mistaken as shooting stars but they are just tiny pieces of rock.
Coming back to the Perseids, the most popular meteor shower can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), the peak of the highly anticipated meteor shower falls on the late night of Monday and early morning hours of Tuesday (August 12-August 13, 2019).
The AMS said, “Not only does the shower peak during the warm nights of mid-August, but it boasts an impressive number of meteors, second only to the Geminids in December.”
AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said, “Up to 100 meteors per hour will occur during the peak night.” “Perseids are not only numerous, they are beautiful. Most of the meteors leave a glittering trail as they pass. “They are multi-coloured and many are bright,” he added.
Where to see the Perseids?
However, your plans to watch the celestial light show may be interrupted due to clouds. Well, the stargazers of the western United States, the southern Plains and a swath of the Ohio Valley will be able to see Perseids.
Patchy clouds could interfere with viewing for many across the eastern US. Although onlookers in big cities, such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix are forecast to have favourable weather, they may want to consider traveling to a darker area away from the light pollution in the city. Unfortunately, the stargazers from South-eastern US, north-central US and Canada may miss the celestial show due to thick clouds.
Where to look during the meteor shower?
Perseids are named after the part of the sky in which they originate, known as the radiant point. They all originate from a part of the sky near the constellation Perseus.
The radiant point will be in the North-eastern sky, but you do not need to focus on this area of the sky to see the meteor shower. In fact, meteors will be able to be seen in all areas of the sky.
Due to the moon, spectators this year should try to keep the moon out of their sight and look to the darkest part of the sky. This will help to increase the odds of seeing some meteors.