This year’s Perseid Meteor Shower, one of the most highly anticipated and spectacular meteor showers of the year, will reach its peak Monday, August 12, 2019 into Tuesday, August 13. Unfortunately,the viewing forecast for the shower this year is expected to be poor, due in part to the nearly full moon and some heavy cloud cover in large parts of the country.
According to NASA, visible meteor rates are down from over 60 per hour from last year’s shower, to just 15-20 per hour because of the brightness of the moon. “But the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature’s fireworks,” NASA said.
For those of you affected by the cloud cover, bad weather, or city lights, you can watch a live stream of the meteor shower below, provided by the Virtual Telescope Project. It will begin Monday, August 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 p.m. CT.
“The Perseid meteor shower is ready to put a great shows up there, this year,” the YouTube description reads. “At Virtual Telescope, we will share it live, online, for you to enjoy it from the comfort of your home.”
You can also watch it via Space.com; Astronomy broadcaster Slooh will stream a live webcast of the Perseids today (Aug. 12) at 9 p.m. ET, according to Space.com. The site will be showing off the shower from telescopes in North America, the Middle East and throughout parts of Europe.
The NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page will also have a live camera feed from Alabama starting at 9 p.m. ET Monday. The page writes “Heads up, Earthlings! The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight. If you can––go outside and look up If you not––we’ve got you covered! From dawn till dusk, we’ll have a telescope view of the sky over NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Most of the time, our live stream will look pretty dark. A Perseid meteor will look like a streak or flash of light. The waxing gibbous Moon is pretty full tonight, which makes meteors more difficult to see. So keep your eyes peeled, and happy stargazing!”
You can set a reminder on Facebook if you wish to view the meteor shower through NASA, otherwise you can check out the post below:
The Perseids occurs as Earth passes through the debris trail left by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, according to Space.com. NASA reports that Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest solar system object that repeatedly passes close to Earth, and it completes a full orbit every 133 years. They are called the Perseids because their radiant – otherwise known as the area of the sky where meteors appear to originate from – is located near the constellation Perseus, according to the American Meteor Society.
NASA says the best viewing times to catch the Perseids is between 2:00 a.m. local time until the sun rises at dawn, so make plans to stay up late or set your alarms to wake up just before 2 o’clock. Your best chance to see the meteor shower is to stay away from large, brightly lit cities and find a dark, quiet place to stargaze. Accuweather recommends viewers “Lay on your back and watch the whole sky, not just the radiant point, and avoid looking at your phone and other light sources,” when viewing the meteor shower.
The Perseid Meteor Shower is exceptionally popular with viewers because it occurs annually during warm August nights, and usually boasts an impressive amount of meteors. “Up to 100 meteors per hour will occur during the peak night,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said of the annual shower. “Perseids are not only numerous, they are beautiful. Most of the meteors leave a glittering trail as they pass. They are multi-colored and many are bright.”
While you’re waiting for the live stream to begin, check out a time lapse of last year’s Perseid Meteor Shower below, courtesy of Everyday Airline Pilot’s YouTube page.
The next chance for stargazers to catch a meteor shower is in October 2019, so mark your calendars: The Draconid meteor shower falls on Oct. 8, followed by the Orionid meteor shower, which will take place on Oct. 21, according to Accuweather.