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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.

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.

Peak dates:
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Beta The animation shows the position of the radiant (the red circle) in the night sky above Washington DC ...Change location

All times shown are local times. Use the Select night drop-down menu above the animation to select other dates. Click on the Peak dates link above the animation to select the night when the meteor shower peaks. Press the play button (►) to see how the radiant will move across the sky through the night with respect to your position on the ground. Alternatively, you can rotate the sky manually by using your mouse or touchpad. Clicking on the red arrow will take you back to the radiant.

During the nights of meteor shower activity, the animation automatically shows the real-time position of the radiant. Clicking the LIVE button, changing dates, or manually rotating the sky will take you out of the live mode.

The animation is representative; it does not show the exact numbers of meteors visible at any given time. You could see more or fewer shooting stars depending on the level of meteor shower activity.

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)
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


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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