The Perseid Meteor Shower: When You Can See It, Where to Watch It, and More
These truly unbearable heat waves are making most of us resent the summer season, but alas, it seems as though Mother Nature is giving us a reason to love it again. Through mid-August, the Perseid Meteor Shower will be visible to astronomy-loving spectators on planet Earth, making for a free-of-charge, screen-free form of nightly entertainment. And luckily, to enjoy this incredible phenomenon, no scientific knowledge is required.
How to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower:
Although many celestial happenings — like the strawberry moon — only stick around for one night or so, the Perseid Shower is blessing us with astronomical views for over a full month. The shower officially started on Wednesday, July 14, and it's expected to continue through Aug. 24, according to USA Today. The peak of the showers will take place in mid-August, between Aug. 11 and Aug. 13, so a few late night campfires are definitely going to be in order for that week.
If you tend to go to sleep early, the showers sadly won't work out in your favor, as the best viewing times for the meteor shower will likely take place around 2 a.m. on most nights. However, they can sometimes be spotted as early as 9 p.m. — they just aren't quite as visible as they are at the wee hours of the evening. If you're an early riser, though, the meteors are also sometimes visible just before dawn, if you're lucky.
According to Live Science, the showers will be most visible to those in the Northern Hemisphere, so if you're south of the equator, you might be SOL — though with technology these days, you can watch a live broadcast that's streaming from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. during the shower's "peak." The best way to see it in-person will be away from light pollution, and contrary to popular belief, you'll see the shower better without binoculars or a telescope.
What you can expect to see during the Perseids Meteor Showers:
The Perseid Meteor Showers are famous for its glorious "fireballs," according to NASA. These are effectively large, colorful explosions, that leave behind "wakes" of streaking lights and colors. You can expect to see about 50 to 100 meteors per hour, which are traveling at about 37 miles per second. So trust us, you'll get your money's worth for this show (even though it's really all free!).
The Perseids were named after the constellation Perseus, according to People, and they were first discovered in 1862 by two well-respected astronomers: Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, of the famous Tuttle telescope. The meteors are all part of a larger comet, 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years.
If you're a sucker for astrology, you may want to read up on how the meteor shower will affect your sign. As per Well + Good, meteor are symbolic of beauty rising from ashes, and they affect each zodiac differently. So in addition to securing a quality camera and tripod for those sick celestial pics, you'll probably want to prepare accordingly.