By Beatrice Karnes
The Perseid meteor shower is already underway and will continue through Aug. 24. The peak viewing will be Aug. 11–12 when stargazers could see upward of 60 meteorites flash before them per hour.
According to Astronomy.com, the Perseid Meteor shower has some added bonuses this year: It will occur on a night when the moon is in its waning crescent phase, which means the moonlight will interfere only slightly with your view of the meteors.
Even better, you don't need a telescope. Just spread out a blanket, perhaps a late-night picnic, lay back and enjoy!
Perseid Meteor Trivia:
- Mankind has looked up at the Perseids for nearly 2,000 years.
- The Perseids are remnants of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun every 133 years.
- These bits of comet "ice and dust" are more than 1,000 years old.
- These meteors travel 37 miles per second.
- The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.
- Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus, which forms an inverted "Y" shape and is in the northeast.
- Some of the meteorites are as small as a grain of sand, but they have the kinetic energy of a nuclear bomb!
- If you see a very slow, bright object sailing across the sky, it's either a satellite or a Space Station.
Where and how to view:
- The best time to view will be Aug. 11 and 12.
- Avoid bright lights. The farther you get from town, the better your view will be.
Connect with the NH Astronomical Society to learn more about local events, including how to organize a SkyWatch.