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2015 Perseid meteor shower

The 2015 Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 12 -13. A new moon on August 14, 2015 will create perfect conditions for observing the meteor shower. Astronomers suggest watching for meteors after midnight on August 13, 2015.

Illustration image
Radiant of the Perseid meteor shower.
The Perseids seem to come from the direction of the Perseus, a constellation in the north-eastern part of the sky
Based on NASA illustration

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occur every August, peaking around August 9-13. Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation, Perseus. This is because, the radiant or the direction from which the shower seems to come in the sky lies in the same direction as Perseus. The constellation can be found in the north-eastern part of the sky.

While the skies light 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 a 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.

Where to view the Perseids

The Perseids can be viewed by observers in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are planning to view the shower, look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky and the zenith (the point in sky directly above you). But don’t worry, you do not have to make any major astronomical calculations. Just lay a blanket on the ground, lie down and let your eyes wander around the sky - you are bound to spot the shower sooner or later.

When to view the Perseids

The best time to view the Perseids, or 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.

Location in the sky

The Perseids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Aug 11, 2015, table below is for that date:
Perseids meteor shower for New York (Night between Aug 11 and Aug 12)
TimeAzimuth/
Direction
Altitude
Tue 9:00 PM18°North-northeast13.1°
Tue 10:00 PM25°North-northeast17.4°
Tue 11:00 PM32°North-northeast22.8°
Midnight Tue-Wed37°Northeast29.2°
Wed 1:00 AM41°Northeast36.3°
Wed 2:00 AM44°Northeast44.0°
Wed 3:00 AM44°Northeast52.0°
Wed 4:00 AM42°Northeast59.8°
Wed 5:00 AM34°North-northeast66.9°
Note: times are for Aug 11, 2015.
Set your location

How to view the Perseids

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Perseids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, Moon, August

In this Article

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All about meteor showers

  1. A handy guide to meteor showers
  2. October 2014: Orionids
  3. November 2014: Leonids
  4. December 2014: Geminids
  5. December 2014: Ursids
  6. January 2015: Quadrantids
  7. April 2015: Lyrids
  8. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  9. August 2015: Perseids
  10. October 2015: Draconids

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