Sonora, CA – This weekend is getting closer to prime time for the best meteor shower show of the year: The Perseids.
Visible from mid-July, they peak in mid-August. You can enjoy it this weekend, in fact. NASA scientists share that this year’s rain will likely produce its most meteor count in the shortest possible time, early in the morning between Tuesday and Thursday of next week.
As they occur each year during warmer summer nighttime temperatures, more comfortable conditions for sky watchers, the Perseids tend to be one of the most popular celestial events of the year. As for their “light show” attributes, with a speed of about 37 miles per second, the Perseids are very fast; they’re also brilliant and known for their greatest explosions of light and color – aka fireballs. Adding to their popularity, the Perseids are one of the most prolific downpours since you can see around 50 to 100 meteors per hour, even more under optimal conditions.
From the northern hemisphere, the Perseids can be spied on in the northern sky during the hours before dawn, although meteors from this year’s rain may be visible as early as 10 p.m.
Since this year’s peak showers period occurs during the last quarter moon phase, astronomers recommend going to the darkest place possible and leaning back so you can see as many sky as possible directly above you. They also advise shower enthusiasts to get comfortable, take the time to let your eyes adjust to the night sky for about 30 minutes, and be patient – the longer you stay in watch mode, the more you will will see.
Local photographer and sky watcher Jim Cruff shares that he’ll be looking for dark skies over the weekend through midweek to capture this year’s event. He shares a photo of the Perseids 2019 taken last year on August 13 which you can see in the image area. The red dotted line is a passing airplane caught with the shutter left open.
You are welcome to share your Perseids photos by sending them to [email protected]