- At Home
Make a wish on a shooting star and it’s sure to come true, or so we’ve heard. If you want your chance to see your wishes come true, you might want to step outside tonight to observe the beautiful, yearly event of the Perseid meteor shower.
The showers have already started, but the peak of the star show will be August 12 between 2 and 5 am. Between 60 and 100 meteors per hour are expected during peak hours.
The meteor shower happens around this time every year when the earth passes through the orbit of the comet named Swift-Tuttle. The comet itself is only visible every 133 years. It last passed in July of 1992, so unless you’re still kicking in July of 2126, you won’t be seeing it.
The debris from this comet burn as it comes through the Earth’s atmosphere at roughly 100,000 mph. To our eyes on the ground, these look like stars falling, even though each piece of debris is only the size of a grain of sand.
This year, we have especially nice conditions for viewing the meteor shower because clear skies are predicted across the United States. Also, the event falls during a crescent moon, so there is less light from the moon.
For the best possible viewing, try to get away from the city lights. It might be a good weekend to go camping. Remember to bring coffee, bug spray, sleeping bags or lawn chairs, and some close friends or family.