Perseid Meteor Shower Starting Soon

The 2013 Perseid meteor shower is starting soon. The annual show is beloved by meteor watchers in the Northern Hemisphere, as it usually puts on a spectacular show in July and August.

While the Perseids are arguably the most well known meteor shower of the year. They have been observed for more than 2,000 years and have yet to disappoint.

Along with the Perseids, the Delta Aquarids, a much lesser known shower, will peak in the coming days, reports Earth Sky. The Aquarids can be seen from late July until early August and coincide with the Perseids.

While the meteor showers begin this weekend, the Perseids won’t peak until August 10-13, just before dawn. While the Delta Aquarid shower will reach between 15 and 20 meteors per hour, the Perseids often produce between 50 and 100 meteors per hour, guaranteeing watchers will see at least one in a decent night’s sky.

International Business Times notes that the Delta Aquarids will be visible between the famous Summer Triangle of the stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair. They are located in the constellations Lyra, Aquila, and Cygnus. However, the moon could be a factor in this years Aquarids show.

While the Delta Aquarids could be put off by the moon, the Perseid meteor shower won’t be. The moon will be waxing and in a crescent shape in early August, allowing for optimal viewing away from city lights.

The shower is also best known for producing fireballs, meaning that the meteor is at least as bright as Jupiter or Venus in the night sky, notes Clarksville Online. The meteor shower is produced by the comet Stift-Tuttle. Because of the comet’s massive size, the meteors it discards are also huge — and frequent.

As with all stargazing, its best to get away from city lights to view this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Do you plan on watching the Perseids this year?

[Image by ESO/S. Guisard via Wikimedia Commons]