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2017 Perseid Meteor Shower

The 2017 Perseids will peak on the night of August 12 and early morning hours of August 13. This year, a Waning Gibbous Moon may hinder a good view of 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, 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 at this time of year. The best date is around Aug 12, 2017; the table below is for that date:

Perseids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between August 12 and August 13)
TimeAzimuth/DirectionAltitude
Sat 9:00 pm17°North-northeast11.0°
Sat 10:00 pm24°North-northeast15.1°
Sat 11:00 pm30°North-northeast20.5°
Sun 12:00 midnight36°Northeast26.9°
Sun 1:00 am40°Northeast34.1°
Sun 2:00 am42°Northeast41.8°
Sun 3:00 am43°Northeast49.7°
Sun 4:00 am40°Northeast57.5°
Sun 5:00 am33°North-northeast64.6°
Note: times are for Aug 12, 2017. 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. December 2016: Geminids
  2. December 2016: Ursids
  3. January 2017: Quadrantids
  4. April 2017: Lyrids
  5. May 2017: Eta Aquarids
  6. August 2017: Perseids
  7. October 2017: Draconids
  8. October 2017: Orionids
  9. November 2017: Leonids

What Is a Meteor Shower?

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