Perseid meteor shower set to put on a great show
You can expect to see up to 100 “shooting stars” per hour when 2013’s best meteor shower peaks before dawn August 12.
By Richard Talcott — Published: August 1, 2013
"If you ask most skygazers to name their favorite meteor shower, the odds are good that “Perseid” will be the first word out of their mouths. This annual shower seemingly has it all: It offers a consistently high rate of meteors year after year; it produces a higher percentage of bright ones than most other showers; it occurs in August when many people take summer vacation; and it happens at a time when nice weather and reasonable nighttime temperatures are common north of the equator. No other major shower can boast all four of these attributes.
And this year’s Perseid meteor shower promises one other significant advantage: It peaks under a Moon-free sky. From mid-northern latitudes, the waxing crescent Moon sets shortly after 10 p.m. local daylight time on the 11th. As always, you’ll see more meteors at a viewing site far from artificial lights.
Senior Editor Michael Bakich of Astronomy magazine loves watching meteor showers, particularly spectacular ones like the Perseids. “It has to be one of the easiest, most relaxing forms of entertainment available to backyard skygazers,” he says. “There’s no need for a telescope because optical aid narrows your field of view, and you want to take in as much sky as possible. And best of all, you can observe the spectacle while lying down. Who could ask for more?”