The second week of August is my favorite time of the year. It’s the beautiful seasonal transition of hot summer nights to a cooler romantic autumn. As they say, Fall in Love….
And what is more romantic that witnessing an annual astronomical event that also takes place during this time of the year, the Perseid Meteor Shower…
The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs from late July to early August, with its peak activity between August 9 – August 14. The earth passes through the debris of the Comet Swift-Tuttle– in the night sky the glittery shower appear to emit from the constellation Perseus, taking its name from the word Perseides (in Greek Mythology “sons of Perseus”).
From tonight, August 11th, until August 13th, we will see the best meteor shower of the year- with over 60, and as high as a hundred meteor showers in the night sky. The best time to witness this blizzard of shooting stars is the darkest hours predawn. This year we are in for a treat as the brightest planets will also make a special appearance, lining up right in the middle of the meteor shower. NASA says, “Jupiter, Venus, and the crescent moon are gathering together just as the Perseid Meteor shower reaches its peak.” Just bedazzling.
To my fellow stargazers, NASA requests that you count the number of shooting stars you see and report it to them. These figures can be used by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office to study and model the Perseid debris stream. For iPhone and Android users, you can download NASA’s official app, Meteor Counter. The meteor show begins around 11pm local time wherever you might be Saturday night.
Have a romantic weekend everyone, if you’re planning on watching the meteor showers outdoors on top of a hill somewhere, don’t forget to bring comfortable chairs and blankets, food, drinks (hot coffee) and bug spray!