Like a messy tourist, the comet Swift-Tuttle passed through our solar system in 1992 (as it did in 1863) leaving behind its trash; tiny grains of ice, dust, rock, and other debris. As the Earth makes its trip around the sun, we pass through this debris field with some spectacular results (The Perseid Meteor Shower).
Although there are several meteor showers annually, like the Leonids, Lyrids, and Geminids, to name a few, the Perseid Meteor Shower is the most reliable, and still very spectacular as they create 50 to 150 meteors an hour on average, and increasing at times as high as 400 to 1000 an hour. It can be a most spectacular display.
The Perseid Meteor Shower, like other meteor showers, is named after the constellation from which it first appeared to have come, Perseus, which is located near Cassiopeia. Locate these constellations with our Skymaps.
How Do I View the Perseid Meteor Shower?Meteor showers are easier to view than many other astronomical objects or events. All you need is a fairly dark location and a blanket or lawn chair. It may be useful to have a skymap to help you locate Perseus, and other constellations while you’re watching, but it’s not a necessity.
To find the best days to see the Perseid Meteor Shower visit our Astronomical Events Calendar. The best viewing time varies, but is often between 2:00AM and 4:00AM. Arrive early to set up, and to give yourself time to adjust your eyes to the darkness. Then, just sit (or lie) back, relax, and enjoy the show. Expect to see an average of about 8 meteors per hour.
Be sure to visit the forum and tell us about your viewing experience.