The Perseid meteor shower is back. Look to the east beginning at 10pm this Wednesday, August 11th. Also, make sure you’re looking again 4 hours later, at 2am on Thursday, August 12th.
The best time to look for these “traditional Perseids” is during the hours before dawn on Thursday, August 12th. Set your alarm for 2 o’clock in the morning; go outside; lie down on a sleeping bag with your toes pointed northeast. You’ll soon see meteors racing along the Milky Way.
Above: The pre-dawn sky on Aug. 12th. The Perseid radiant is denoted by a red dot. While you’re looking for meteors, check out Venus and the crescent Moon, too, near the horizon.
Can’t wake up at 2 a.m.?
Try looking around 9 or 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11th when Perseus is hanging low in the eastern sky. You won’t see many meteors then, but the ones you do see could be memorable. Shooting stars that emerge from the horizon and streak horizontally through the atmosphere are called “Earthgrazers.” Slow and colorful Earthgrazers are a good target for city dwellers, because they are so bright.
Hmmm. Earthgrazers. Sounds like a band name or an album title or something.
I also like the fact that it looks like Perseus is hurling spears at us.