Professional and amateur astronomers gather every single year to watch the Perseid meteor shower, an event so bright it can be witnessed by the naked eye. This weekend the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak, marking the perfect time to get out and see the event with your own eyes.
The meteor shower is marked by a high rate of meteors that are visible at a time when nighttime temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere are reasonable enough to provide good weather and often clear skies.
In 2012 viewers of the Perseid meteor shower will be met with two viewing advantages, first the moon will be in the waning crescent phase which means it won’t block the view and second the shower will peak on Saturday night which means most late night viewers won’t have to work first thing in the morning.
According to Red Orbit:
“This year, the shower peaks on the night of August 11/12. You can expect to see somewhere around 80 “shooting stars” per hour between midnight and dawn. Add in the fact that just before dawn, Jupiter and Venus will join in and this promises to be one of the best Perseid showers in memory.”
NASA reports that the Perseid meteor shower has been witnessed by sky gazers for more than 2000 years.
If you plan to watch the meteor shower be aware that they can arrive in segments which means you might not see anything for ten minutes and then witness a meteor cluster.
If you have the opportunity leave behind the bright skies of the city for a darker country location for the best possible viewing experience.