Perseid Meteor Shower Peak 2013: When to Watch, Where to Go
People wanting to see the peak activity of the Perseids meteor shower, which began on July 17, should plan ahead for August 11 and August 12.
During those two days, the peak activity meteor count will be up to 60 meteors per hour, according to NASA, which also says that the Perseids is known as one of the best meteor showers to observe.
“A crescent moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies from late night until dawn,” NASA says. “The Perseids are typically fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains.”
Okay, so you know when the peak activity is. But where to go to watch the meteors?
The best thing you can do to maximize the number of meteors you’ll see is to get as far away from urban light pollution as possible and find a location with a clear, unclouded view of the night sky. Try camping, or visiting that friend with a nice place outside the city. Or if you have a nice place like that, consider inviting your city friends over!
Once you get to wherever you’re going to watch the Perseids, search for the darkest patch of sky you can find, as meteors can appear anywhere overhead.
Meteors will always travel away from the constellation for which the shower is named–in this case, constellation Perseus.
Several other pointers:
-Be patient, because it could take a while to spot some meteors. Watch for at least half an hour, lying on a blanket or using reclining chairs.
-Don’t use a telescope or binoculars, which reduces how much sky you can see at one time.
“Instead, let your eyes hang loose and don’t look in any one specific spot,” NASA recommends. “Relaxed eyes will quickly zone in on any movement up above, and you’ll be able to spot more meteors. Avoid looking at your cell phone or any other light. Both destroy night vision. If you have to look at something on Earth, use a red light. Some flashlights have handy interchangeable filters. If you don’t have one of those, you can always paint the clear filter with red fingernail polish.”