Journalist have talked breathlessly about the upcoming solar eclipse which will happen on August 21, but another fantastic astronomic event will happen this weekend. The Perseid Meteor Shower, which will see meteors streak through the night sky, will be active this weekend and present a dazzling sight for intrepid stargazers.
Some reports claim that this year’s Perseid showers will be the brightest meteor shower in recorded human history, but NASA unfortunately debunked these claims. The space agency stated that they are expecting 150 meteors per hour, which is 10 times smaller than the Leonid meteor storms of the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 1833, another Leonid storm reportedly had a rate of at least tens of thousands meteors per hour.
And while NASA pointed out that this will not be the largest meteor shower ever, Scientific American observed that interested watchers may have their view obscured by the moon. The moon turned full about a week ago and remains more than half full in the sky now, foiling attempts to view meteors. An astronomer with the Royal Astronomical Societyreported that viewers may only see 20 meteors per hours if they are lucky.
The Beauty of Meteors
But while viewing meteors may be more difficult this year, enterprising viewers who trek out to rural or suburban areas with less light pollution can still see some meteors. And as this event is happening right before the aforementioned solar eclipse, it serves as a reminder of other interesting astronomical phenomenon.