Catch The Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight & Tomorrow (8/12-8/13)
The 2022 Perseid meteor shower is currently peaking and will do so through tomorrow night (8/13). You may even see meteors a few days after the peak. To watch the display, get to the darkest place you can, let your eyes adjust, and look overhead. It's that easy.
The annual Perseid meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed close to Earth in 1992. Meteors are defined as "streaks of light in the sky caused by dust and sand-sized rocks burning up as they hit Earth's upper atmosphere at very high speeds; over 20,000 miles per hour. So, the bigger the piece of space dust, the brighter the meteor will appear in the sky as it burns up. In fact, space is full of dust, so on a typical night from a dark location, you might see up to 10 meteors per hour — no shower required!
The two of the best meteor showers of the year are the Perseids, peaking now, and the Geminids, which peak in mid-December. The Perseids are more easily known because they occur during the northern hemisphere summer. That being said, the Geminids actually produce more meteors. Did you know that meteor showers are named after the constellation that contains the "radiant" of the shower. The radiant is where the meteors appear to emanate from. That is, if you trace the meteors paths, all lines will meet at the same point.
So head on out and get a glimpse tonight. All you need to watch is your eyes, patience, and a mostly cloud-free night. Yup, just stare at the sky. Typically the best time to see a meteor shower is between midnight and pre-dawn. Often times the ideal place to look is 45 degrees away from the originating constellation, but the most important factor is getting to a dark location away from city lights, letting your eyes adjust for several minutes, and looking at the darkest patch of sky you can find.
While you're looking up, watch for the little green men....