This weekend will be a great one to keep your eye on the sky. The nights of Aug. 11-13 will feature the Perseid Meteor Shower, with NASA estimating a sight of up to 100 meteors per hour.
The Perseid Meteor Shower will light up the sky this weekend as a result of the Earth’s orbit through a debris cloud left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.
According to NASA, the best views will be in the Northern Hemisphere. The shower can be seen any time after 10 to 11 p.m., however, the best time to view will be during the darkest hours just before dawn.
Unfortunately, for those who live in the city, the lights will interfere with viewing the display. That'll cause the faint meteors to get lost in the urban glare. Perhaps you could try to get a hold of a friend in the suburbs and make a night of it.
In addition to the meteor display, Jupiter, Venus, and the crescent Moon are nearing each other at the same time this year. This alignment will take place in the eastern sky before sunrise during the peak of the meteor shower.
If you know your constellations, locate Perseus, which is the constellation that the shower is named after, because it appears that all the meteors appear to originate from there. However, you do not have to look right at Perseus to see the meteors. You can look almost anywhere else and still see the shower.
The peak of the peak, for us, will occur Saturday night into Sunday morning, but there may be one small issue - the weather. Right now, I am forecasting for a decent amount of clouds early in the overnight that should gradually clear. Don’t worry though; the forecast for Sunday night is looking much better, featuring mainly clear skies, making the display impressive.
If you are going to count how many meteors you or your family observe, NASA would like you to pass that information on to them. Meteor counts by skywatchers will be used by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office to study and model the Perseid debris stream.
How do you pass the information on? There's an app for that. It's called the “Meteor Counter”. I never said the guys at NASA were too creative with names. Anyway, the app is available for both Android and iPhone.