Moonlight may not put a damper on the Perseid meteor shower the way it did last year.
According to astronomers, the moonlight won’t be so bright, and should allow viewers to see a few streaks over the next few nights.
“The Perseid are typically fast and bright meteors,” said EarthSky Editor Deborah Byrd. “They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. You don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower because the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. The Perseid are considered by many people to be the year’s best shower, and often peak at 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark sky.”
The Perseid tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn, she said. These meteors are often bright and frequently leave persistent trains.
Starting in late evening on the nights of Aug. 10, 11, 12 and 13, the Perseid meteors will streak across these short summer nights from late night until dawn, with only a little interference from the waning crescent moon. “Plus the moon will be near the bright planets Venus and Jupiter in the eastern predawn sky,” said Byrd.
“The result of debris burning up as it enters the atmosphere, the meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle,” said WRAL’s Tony Rice. “This weekend, look to the north, just below the up-ended W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. Meteors will appear as streaks of light in the surrounding sky.”
Weather for viewing may be more favorable on Sunday.