In the Northern Hemisphere, we rank the August Perseids as our all-time favorite meteor shower. The Perseids take place during the lazy, hazy days of northern summer, when many families are on vacation. And what could be more luxurious than taking a siesta from the heat of the day and watching this summertime classic in the cool of night? Plus, 2021 is an excellent year for this shower! No matter where you live worldwide, the 2021 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. On the peak mornings in 2021 – in the early morning hours, when the most meteors will be flying – there’ll be no moon to ruin the show. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy this shower.
1. No special equipment, or knowledge of the constellations, needed.
2. Find a wide-open sky. These meteors will all come from a single point in the sky, their radiant point. More about that below. But, as you stand watching (and depending on what time of the night it is), you’ll see meteors streak across the sky in front of numerous constellations. A wide-open sky will give you the best show.
3. Watch from midnight to dawn. That’s when the part of Earth you’re standing on will be heading into the meteor stream in space. So you’ll see more meteors. By dawn, they’ll be raining down from overhead. Be aware that the Perseid meteors will start to fly in mid-to-late evening from northerly latitudes. South of the equator, the Perseids start to streak the sky around midnight. Here’s an added bonus for evening observing. If fortune smiles upon you, the evening hours might offer you an earthgrazer, a looooong, slow, colorful meteor traveling horizontally across the evening sky. Earthgrazer meteors are rare but memorable. Perseid earthgrazers appear before midnight, when the radiant point of the shower is close to the horizon.
4. You want a dark sky for watching meteors. In a dark sky, you may see up to 60 meteors per hour at the shower’s peak. Will you see over 100 per hour, as in some years? Perhaps. But you won’t know unless you look. To find a dark sky near you, check out EarthSky’s worldwide Best Places to Stargaze map.
5. Give yourself at least an hour of observing time, because the meteors in meteor showers come in spurts and are interspersed with lulls. Remember, your eyes can take as long as 20 minutes to adapt to the darkness of night. So don’t rush the process.
6. Enjoy the comfort of a reclining lawn chair. Bring along some other things you might enjoy also, like a thermos filled with a hot drink.
7. If you must watch in moonlight, place yourself in the moon’s shadow. In 2021, the moon will be in a waxing crescent phase, setting in the west in early evening, as the Perseids peak. So the moon won’t be a factor for the Perseids’ peak this year. But maybe you want to start watching for Perseids in late July, when there’s a moon in the sky between midnight and dawn? If so, place some large structure or natural object – a barn, a cabin, a mountain – between you and the moon. You’ll see more meteors that way than if you’re standing out under the blazing moonlight itself.
8. Consider watching after the peak. People tend to focus on the peak mornings of meteor showers, and that’s entirely appropriate. But meteors in annual showers – which come from streams of debris left behind in space by comets – typically last weeks, not days. Perseid meteors usually start streaking the sky around July 17. They rise gradually to a peak, then fall off more rapidly. Still, we’ll see some Perseids – though at considerably reduced numbers – for some days after the peak mornings on August 11, 12 and 13.
9. Remember, all good things come to those who wait. Meteors are part of nature. There’s no way to predict exactly how many you’ll see on any given night. Find a good spot, watch, wait. You’ll see some.
10. Also remember, as the Perseids are rising to their peak, the Delt Aquariid meteor shower will still be rambling along steadily. You’ll see mostly Perseids, but also some Delta Aquariids in the mix. There’s an explanation of how to tell the difference toward the bottom of this article.
Perseid meteor shower radiant point
If you trace all the Perseid meteors backward, they all seem to come from the constellation Perseus, near the famous Double Cluster. Hence, the meteor shower is named in honor of the constellation Perseus the Hero.
However, this is a chance alignment of the meteor shower radiant with the constellation Perseus. The stars in Perseus are light-years distant while these meteors burn up about 60 miles (100 km) above the Earth’s surface. If any meteor survives its fiery plunge to hit the ground intact, the remaining portion is called a meteorite. Few – if any – meteors in meteor showers become meteorites, however, because of the flimsy nature of comet debris. Most meteorites are the remains of asteroids.
In ancient Greek star lore, Perseus is the son of the god Zeus and the mortal Danaë. It is said that the Perseid shower commemorates the time when Zeus visited Danaë, the mother of Perseus, in a shower of gold.
Where do the Perseids come from?
The Perseids are fragments of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits between the Sun and beyond the orbit of Pluto once every 133 years. Every year, the Earth passes near the path of the comet, and the debris left behind by Swift-Tuttle shows up as meteors in the sky.
OnMyWay Is The #1 Distracted Driving Mobile App In The Nation!
OnMyWay, based in Charleston, SC, The Only Mobile App That Pays its Users Not to Text and Drive.
The #1 cause of death among young adults ages 16-27 is Car Accidents, with the majority related to Distracted Driving.
OnMyWay’s mission is to reverse this epidemic through positive rewards. Users get paid for every mile they do not text and drive and can refer their friends to get compensated for them as well.
The money earned can then be used for Cash Cards, Gift Cards, Travel Deals and Much, Much More….
The company also makes it a point to let users know that OnMyWay does NOT sell users data and only tracks them for purposes of providing a better experience while using the app.
The OnMyWay app is free to download and is currently available on both the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android @ OnMyWay; Drive Safe, Get Paid.
Download App Now – https://r.onmyway.com
Sponsors and advertisers can contact the company directly through their website @ www.onmyway.com.