The annual Perseid meteor shower has been going on for a while now. If you haven’t yet spent some time outside at night looking to the heavens to see the meteor shower, this weekend will be the best time to view. The Perseid meteor shower will peak on Saturday, August 11, which is this coming weekend.
This meteor shower occurs each year and is the result of a comet discovered 150 years ago called Swift-Tuttle. The meteor shower is caused by small fragments of the comet breaking away as it flies through the galaxy. While some think that the meteor shower only happens for a few nights, the Perseid shower has been going on and will simply get easier to see this weekend.
Saturday is the peak viewing night and viewing will be even better for many people because the moon will be in a waning crescent phase producing little light making for a darker night sky. For the best chance of seeing any of the meteors, or shooting stars, you want to look towards the Perseus constellation. The fact that the meteors seem to come from the Perseus consolation is where the Perseid name comes from.
This constellation is in the northeast sky and looks like an inverted “Y.” If you plan to watch, you want to look northeast after the sun sets Saturday evening for the best show. I suggest downloading an app for your smartphone to help you find the Perseus constellation. I like Google Sky Map.