A Perseid meteor shower hasn’t shined this bright for years
If you’ve been waiting for a perfect summer evening to watch a meteor shower, then good news. Overnight from August 11 to 12 (that’s Thursday night to Friday morning next week), one of this year’s most visually impressive meteor showers, the Perseid meteors, will light up the night sky. And this year in particular, scientists say the Perseid peak could display an “outburst” of up to 200 meteors per hour shouting across the U.S. sky, Mashable reports.
Most years, this natural spectacle only produces roughly half that number of meteors per hour. But what’s the reason for this heightened visual phenomenon? Simply, a denser cloud of debris sits in our planet’s orbit this year, providing more pieces of ice and dust for Earth’s atmosphere to shatter and create a stunning show for us on the ground.
To make the most of this annual event, try to get as far away from city lights as possible and stay up until at least midnight to see the highlights of the Perseid meteors. And if you want to get really technical, plan on staying outside for about 45 minutes—that’s about how long it takes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
It’s not something you see every night, to say the least, and as NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke said in a statement, "The meteors you’ll see this year are from comet flybys that occurred hundreds if not thousands of years ago. And they’ve traveled billions of miles before their kamikaze run into Earth’s atmosphere.” They’ve traveled this far to see you, so why not meet them halfway and camp out in the backyard next Thursday night?