Perseid meteor shower is back. Here’s how and when to see it.
The well-known Perseid meteor shower is back! A summertime favorite where the nights are still long and it’s warm enough to not have to bundle up.
This meteor shower comes from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The meteor shower shows up every year from late July through Sept, 1, when the Earth travels through the debris field the comet left behind. The Earth will pass through the densest part of the trail on Aug. 12-13. This will be the peak and when one can see the most meteors.
You may have seen a few “shooting stars” already, as there are two other weaker meteor showers also going on currently. If you happen to see a swift bright meteor cross the sky, there’s a good chance it was a Perseid. That’s what this shower is known for.
The shower is named for the constellation Perseus, which is the part of the sky from where the showers appear to radiate. It’s one of the 48 ancient constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. Perseus was the Greek mythological hero who beheaded Medusa.
Perseus rises high in the northeastern sky late at night, near the constellation Cassiopeia. You may not notice Perseus at first, but Cassiopeia is unmistakable with its zig-zag shape that resembles the letter “M” or “W.”
Here’s how to view the Perseids:
The best part about viewing meteor showers is that all you need to do is look up! Find the darkest patch of sky out there, it doesn’t have to be in the direction of the constellation either. The meteors will pop up almost anywhere.
Head out late, the later the better. Grab the lawn chairs, blankets and bug spray and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Get comfortable because it may take a while. If the weather happens to get in the way, this shower will be visible for several weeks.