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2018 Perseid Meteor Shower

The 2018 Perseids will peak on the night of August 12 and early morning hours of August 13. A New Moon creates dark skies and excellent conditions to see the shooting stars.

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, occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. The shower tends to peak around August 9-13.

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.

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 are lit up several times 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 Sky

The Perseids meteor shower is not visible tonight. Maximum for the shower is on Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm; the table below is for that night:

Perseids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between August 12 and August 13)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Sun 9:00 pm16°North-northeast10.4°
Sun 10:00 pm23°North-northeast14.2°
Sun 11:00 pm29°North-northeast19.3°
Mon 12:00 midnight34°Northeast25.5°
Mon 1:00 am39°Northeast32.4°
Mon 2:00 am41°Northeast39.9°
Mon 3:00 am43°Northeast47.8°
Mon 4:00 am41°Northeast55.6°
Mon 5:00 am35°Northeast62.8°
Note: times are for Aug 12, 2018. 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, August

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Meteor Showers Library

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

What Is a Meteor Shower?

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