Even though there has been a lot of chatter about the upcoming solar eclipse, if you’ve found a new love for astronomy, you’ll love to hear that this weekend -- the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks.
You, your friends and family have the opportunity to see at least 50 meteors per hour (or, what we also like to call "shooting stars") across the night sky Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. However, this year the summertime meteor shower coincides with the almost full moon (it was full Aug. 7 and is now a bright, waning gibbous this weekend), which could impact seeing as many shooting stars.
How to See A Glimpse of the Meteor Shower
To increase your chances of seeing this particular meteor shower, look towards the northeast part of the night sky, away from city lights. Plus, the best time to see these shooting stars will be right before or just after moonrise this weekend, considering the moon will still be so bright. Moonrise times across New England vary, but Friday night, the moonrise is around 10:00 p.m., Saturday is around 10:30 p.m., and Sunday is around 11:15 p.m.
Weather Forecast Has to Cooperate
Not only does the moonrise matter, the weather also has to cooperate. Friday’s forecast for New England brings increasing cloud cover through this evening with rain possible around midnight for western New England (Vermont, the Berkshires in Western Mass., and Western Connecticut). This line of rain will spread from west to east and are expected to move into the Boston-area and eastern New England, by 4 a.m.
Saturday night, we still have rain lingering into early Sunday along with some clouds, so that leaves Sunday night being the best night to view these for most of New England. A weak cold front clears the area, ushering in drier, less humid conditions, plus, less clouds and less chances for rain. Even though Sunday is past the peak of the meteor shower, you can still see around 40-50 meteors, shooting across the night sky.
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Fast Fact About This Meteor Shower
The Perseid Meteor Shower is caused by debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle. Once these bits of comet debris hit Earth’s atmosphere, the meteors are heated to nearly 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to vaporize the meteor, which results in the flash of light that we see as a shooting star.
Next year, the Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to coincide with the New Moon (this moon phase is very dim) and makes for great viewing conditions. However, as long as the weather cooperates, you’ll be able to see even more shooting stars!