Perseid Meteor Shower in Mid August

Want to see the best meteor shower of the year? It’s coming up in a few days! Whether you and your children enjoy viewing the beautiful night sky or whether you’re studying astronomy this year, you won’t want to miss the Perseid meteor shower that’s happening soon!

When to View

You can see the Perseid meteor shower during the nights of August 11-12 and August 12-13. Either night should provide a beautiful show, but the night of the 12th-13th may be the better of the two. In fact, you should be able to see as many as 60 to 80 meteors per hour!

Why This Year Will Provide a Great View

According to an interview with NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke on Space.com, because the moon will be near new moon this year, it will be a crescent. That means the moon will set before the meteor shower begins after midnight. In other words, the moon will cooperate nicely and allow us to get a great view of the meteor shower this year. Cooke also mentioned that the Perseids are rich in fireballs, so that will provide and even better show!

How to View

You really don’t need any special equipment. Of course it’s fun to use an awesome telescope if you own one or have access to one, but it’s not necessary. The most important things you can do to enjoy a beautiful view are to get as far away from street lights or other lighting that may dim your view and to be sure to stay awake! Also, you should be able to see showers any time after twilight, but you’ll get the best views after midnight and before dawn.

How to View if You Live in a Big City

Want to Help Formally Document Your Observations?

If you or your children are particularly interested in astronomy or if you’re studying astronomy as part of your homeschool this year, it might be fun to participate in more formally documenting your observations of the meteor shower. According to the International Meteor Organization, you should track sky activity for at least one hour, and you should keep track of meteor activity in intervals of no more than 15 minutes (shorter intervals are better). If you want more detailed information on recording and reporting your information, you can find it on the International Meteor Organization site.

More Tips and Information

Do you plan to watch the meteor shower with your young children? How to Watch a Meteor Shower with Your Kids has some great tips! (Keep in mind that that article was written a couple of years ago, so the information about that year being a cosmic outburst isn’t true of this year.)

If you’d like to do some reading and discover some fun facts about meteors, you’ll enjoy Meteor Facts on the Kids Astronomy site.

To print your own meteor shower word search, click here. And for the answer key, click here.

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