If you don’t want to miss one of the most well-known astronomical events, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we’ll give you some tips on how the Perseids can be seen and the best dates to look at the spectacular event. Let’s begin!
Where does the Perseid meteor shower come from?
As we mentioned before, meteor showers are caused by meteoroid streams entering the Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speed. Due to the effect of perspective, meteors appear to come out from the same point in the sky — radiant point — but in fact, they move on parallel trajectories. Each meteor shower has a parent body; for the Perseids, it is the comet Swift-Tuttle.
The radiant point for the Perseid meteor shower is in the constellation of Perseus. You don’t need to find the radiant point to see more meteors because they will fly in many different directions all over the firmament. But the constellation is worth taking a look at! With the help of the Star Walk 2 app, you’ll be able to determine every constellation in the skies. Moreover, in the app’s settings, you can choose how a constellation will look like on a sky map — like a group of shining stars or like an animal or mythological person it was named after.
When is the Perseid meteor shower?
The comet Swift-Tuttle approaches the Earth only once every 135 years. Despite this, the Perseid meteor shower is the annual event, because the Earth crosses the comet’s trail every year. In 2020, the Perseid meteor shower is active from July 17 to August 24 and will produce the highest number of meteors on August 11, 12, 13, no matter which part of the world you are in. According to the International Meteor Organization, the peak will be on August 12 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. GMT (from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT).
How to see the Perseid meteor shower?
We’ve gathered some tips that can help you to catch the best view. With the proper preparation, the Perseids 2020 will bring you an unforgettable stargazing experience.
- Start looking for meteors when the sky goes dark, before the Moon rises. Considering the Moon’s position in the skies, the best time for meteors observation will be several days after the peak.
- Find out the radiant’s position in the skies; the higher it climbs, the more meteors you’re likely to see. Radiant is easy to find with the help of Star Walk 2 app.
- Find an open place with the dark sky, away from the city lights: there are ten times fewer meteors visible in the city. An even better option would be to go up in the mountains, where haze and clouds are below the observer.
- Give this breathtaking event at least an hour of your time to see as many meteors as possible.
- Bring a deck chair or a camp-cot to lie on. You can also use a mat, but your head needs to be raised so that the blood doesn’t rush there. Otherwise, you’ll start to feel sleepy very soon.
- Don’t look directly at the radiant, as there will be mostly short meteors.
- Don’t look low above the horizon either — there might be haze or clouds.
- Don’t make a fire or turn on bright flashlights. The bright light won’t allow your eyes to adapt to the darkness so you won’t be able to see a significant part of meteors. Better bring a flashlight with a red light instead — this light is more comfortable in the nighttime.
- Don’t gaze up for 1 hour straight, make 5–10 minutes breaks. This way you’ll be able to stay focused and give your eyes a rest.
Enjoy the spectacular night show and share with us your experience on social media. Happy stargazing!