Perseid Meteor Shower to Light Up the Night Skies in 2016
The 2016 Perseids will peak on the night of August 11 and early morning hours of August 12. This year, astronomers are predicting a spectacular shower, with about 200 meteors per hour lighting up the night sky during the time of maximum activity.
A waxing gibbous Moon may make it harder for some observers to watch the meteor shower. However, if the peak occurs after the Moon sets in your location, you may be treated to a spectacular show of celestial fireworks, weather permitting, of course.
The high level of Perseid activity this year means that even observers in some Southern Hemisphere locations will be able to see some fireballs.
When Can I See the Perseids?
The best time to view the Perseids, and most other meteor showers, is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.
Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus. This is because the direction, or radiant, from which the shower seems to come in the sky lies in the same direction as the constellation Perseus, which can be found in the north-eastern part of the sky.
While the skies are lit up several time a year by other meteor showers, the Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers. This is because at its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.
Where Can I See the Perseids?
The Perseids can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky, and the zenith (the point in the sky directly above you).
While you can easily see a shooting star with the naked eye just looking straight up, the table below shows the exact direction of the Perseids from your location.
Location in the SkyThe Perseids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Aug 13, 2017, table below is for that date:
|Perseids meteor shower for New York (Night between Aug 13 and Aug 14)|
|Sun 9:00 PM||19°||13.7°|
|Sun 10:00 PM||26°||18.1°|
|Sun 11:00 PM||32°||23.7°|
|Mon 1:00 AM||41°||37.4°|
|Mon 2:00 AM||44°||45.2°|
|Mon 3:00 AM||44°||53.1°|
|Mon 4:00 AM||41°||60.9°|
|Mon 5:00 AM||32°||67.7°|
Set your location
How to Watch Meteor Showers
- Check the weather: Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot. All you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.
- Get out of town: Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights.
- Prepare to wait: Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.
In This Article
- When Can I See the Perseids?
- Comet Swift-Tuttle
- Where Can I See the Perseids?
- How to Watch Meteor Showers