Get ready for a spectacular light show – the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower will be taking place this weekend and skywatchers all across the world are eagerly anticipating the event. Though meteor showers happen every summer when the Earth passes through a swarm of cosmic debris associated with a comet called Swift-Tuttle, this year’s show should be especially remarkable due to an ideal lunar alignment that will make the night sky extra dark.
Director of Public Observing for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Michelle Nichols, comments, “The waning crescent moon won’t impede the display this year, and as it only rises late, viewers will be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of the celestial fireworks.” With the peak falling on a weekend too, there’s sure to be plenty of eager skywatchers staying up late or rising before dawn in order to marvel at the impressive phenomenon.
When these tiny bits of comet debris collide with Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they heat up and glow, providing us with a captivating display not soon to be forgotten. So grab your coat and get ready for some interstellar fun!
Get ready to spot up to 60 shooting stars per hour in the night sky! The Perseid meteor shower officially began in mid-July and is expected to peak in activity between Saturday night and pre-dawn hours of Sunday, August 13. According to Robert Lunsford from the American Meteor Society, the meteors should be most visible during the last hour before dawn when the source of the shooting stars lies higher in the sky.
So, visitors of the night sky, grab a blanket while it’s still dark. Prepare for a spectacular and unforgettable show: multiple shooting stars streaking across the dark sky!
Clear skies, comfy chairs and a good 20-30 minutes to allow your eyes to adjust: this is the perfect recipe for the best possible Perseid meteor shower experience this year. Whether you’re hoping to skywatch during the peak or need to contend with a few cloudy evenings, it’s still worth stepping outside to track these streaks of light — even if just for a minute. What can you expect? According to Bill Lunsford, chairman of the annual Leonid MultiStation Meteor Observation in Microprocessor, you could be in for a surprise or two!
“Sometimes you’ll see fireballs of different colors that leave a trail in the sky for up to a minute or so,” he says. “It’s very cool.” Jackie Faherty, who works with New York City’s Hayden Planetarium even goes as far as to suggest one fireball could “shake you to your core”!
If anyone needed further persuading, this is one celestial event that’s definitely worth watching. Embrace the darkness and be prepared for awe-inspiring colors that you don’t want to miss out on!
For those bold enough to stand in the darkness, and look up at the night sky, the rewards can be immense. According to Jane Faherty, stargazer and expert on observing the night sky, sometimes things happen too quickly and people don’t stick around long enough to appreciate the beauty of a meteor shower.
“When you experience a meteor shower, it’s almost like being a part of something greater – a cosmic show just for you,” she explains. “But to enjoy it fully, you have to commit. Just 10 minutes won’t do. You’ll need at least 45 minutes to an hour to get the full effect.”
So if you’re ready for an adventure, pack some snacks, blankets, and your favorite bottle of wine, get comfortable outside and look up. You never know what you might see in Mother Nature’s celestial theatre.