The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, coinciding with the new moon. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on how to see it.
Shooting stars will radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeast. The best time to watch for them is between midnight and dawn. Earlier in the evening there will be fewer meteors, but skywatchers may catch a few “earthgrazers,” long, colorful shooting stars that skim over the horizon. On dark, moonless nights the Perseids can produce 50 or more meteors per hour.
This shower occurs every August when Earth passes through the debris left by a comet. Most of the shooting stars are tiny, the size of a grain of sand.
This weekend is also a good time to take a look at Mars. The planet will be in the sky all night and is unusually bright because it’s making a close approach to Earth.