RICHMOND, Va. – If you are out after dark, your chances of seeing meteors streaking across the sky are increasing as we enter the Perseid meteor stream (debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle). The shower will not peak until August 11-12, but a Full Moon will wash out all but the brightest meteors in that time frame. As a result, the expected best visibility is less than 30 meteors per hour this year.
The best viewing will likely be in the first week of August, but a few bright fireballs will be visible during the final nights of July, and the crystal clear skies we have will be ideal for viewing.
The image above was snapped on July 27, 2014 by NASA cameras, spotting a Perseid fireball flying over New Mexico. NASA says it detected at least five Perseid-related fireballs this weekend. Spaceweather.com said it was:
… a “mini-flurry” that signals the beginning of the annual display. Normally the best time to watch would be during the shower’s peak: August 11 through 13. This year, however, the supermoon will cast an interfering glare across the nights of maximum activity, reducing visibility from 120 meteors per hour (the typical Perseid peak rate) to less than 30.
Now is the time to get your best view of these meteors and fireballs (bigger meteors) before the Moon’s increasing light washes out your view.
Here are some viewing tips:
Let us know in the comments section below if you spot any Perseid meteors!