One of the most prolific meteor showers of the year is set to peak Wednesday night.
The Perseid meteor shower is expected to deliver one of its best shows in years thanks to the lack of moonlight to obscure the event. The meteor shower is set to peak in the late evening hours on Wednesday, offering skywatchers an excellent opportunity to catch a “shooting star.”
The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that typically peaks around mid-August. The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, where the meteors appear to originate from. The Perseids are tiny pieces of icy debris that has come off Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.
Conditions tonight will be good for spotting meteors. The presence of a new moon means the skies will be dark and viewing will be uninhibited by light reflected off of the moon. The last time a new moon occurred in conjunction with the Perseids meteor shower was in 2007. The best viewing will opportunity will be in the late evening hours on Wednesday and early morning hours on Thursday.
The meteor shower is expected to produce approximately 50-100 meteors per hour. In addition, the Perseids’ peak will coincide with the tail end of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, making for what could be a spectacular show. [Watch: Webcast Of The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower]
NASA and the Slooh Community Observatory will be providing live streams of the meteor shower for those who are unable to view it due to light pollution or poor weather conditions. Slooh’s live stream starts at 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug. 12. NASA’s live stream starts at 10 p.m. EDT. on Wednesday, Aug. 12 and ends at 2 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Aug. 13.