The Outside Blog

Dispatches

How and When to Watch the Best Meteor Shower of the Year

800px-The_2010_Perseids_over_the_VLTA Perseid. Photo: ESO/Wikimedia Commons

The best nights to see the best meteor shower of the year will start this weekend, according to NASA. The agency has released a video guide (below) that says the prime viewing nights for the Perseid meteor shower are from August 11 through August 13. "We expect to see meteor rates as high as a hundred per hour," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The Perseids always put on a good show."

The Perseid meteor shower occurs each August when the earth passes through the debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. As particles of ice and dust left by the comet collide with the earth's atmosphere, they burn up. The display can be seen anytime after 10 or 11 o'clock at night, but is best viewed at darker times a few hours before dawn. Rural areas, where there is less light pollution, offer better viewing conditions. NASA has included sky maps on its website so you know where to look. This year, stargazers will be able to see a crescent moon, Jupiter, and Venus at the same time as the meteor shower.

If you're planning to count the meteors, NASA wouldn't mind your help. They have created a free app that you can download on your iPhone or Android device. They will use the information from citizen scientists to monitor and possibly model the debris stream.

If you want to learn more about the meteor shower as it happens, NASA is hosting a live chat from 11 p.m.  to 3 a.m. on the night of August 11 and will show a live video feed of the shower, if for some reason you'd rather watch it on your laptop.

—Joe Spring
@joespring
facebook.com/joespring.1



Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

Categories

Advertisement

$ad.smallDesc

$ad.smallDesc

$ad.smallDesc

Previous Posts

2014

2013

2012

Blog Roll

Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.