Perseid Meteor Shower in 2016

The 2016 Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 12 and 13. A waxing gibbous Moon will make it harder for observers to watch the meteor shower.

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

When Can I See the Perseids?

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occur every year between July 17 and August 24. The shower tends to peak around August 9-13.

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.

Sunrise and Sunset in my City

Comet Swift-Tuttle

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 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 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 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 sky

The Perseids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Aug 13, 2016, table below is for that date:
Perseids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Aug 13 and Aug 14)
Sat 9:00 PM18°North-northeast11.3°
Sat 10:00 PM25°North-northeast15.5°
Sat 11:00 PM31°North-northeast21.0°
Midnight Sat-Sun36°Northeast27.5°
Sun 1:00 AM40°Northeast34.7°
Sun 2:00 AM42°Northeast42.4°
Sun 3:00 AM43°Northeast50.3°
Sun 4:00 AM40°Northeast58.1°
Sun 5:00 AM32°North-northeast65.1°
Note: times are for Aug 13, 2016.
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.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, Comets

In this Article


Meteor Showers Library

  1. October 2015: Draconids
  2. October 2015: Orionids
  3. November 2015: Leonids
  4. December 2015: Geminids
  5. December 2015: Ursids
  6. January 2016: Quadrantids
  7. April 2016: Lyrids
  8. May 2016: Eta Aquarids
  9. August 2016: Perseids

What is a Meteor Shower?

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