Look at the Sky Tonight

Photo: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

How about a nice, screenless — outdoor — activity this evening? What could that be, you ask? Only the hottest meteor shower of the year. Oh, you didn’t know there was a preeminent meteor shower? Neither did I, but apparently the annual “Perseid” meteor shower is the meteor shower to watch, and she’s going to be here this evening.

As Emma Clay writes for the NASA blog, Perseid meteors are “caused by debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle,” and “show up every year in August when Earth ventures through trails of debris left behind by the ancient comet.” The shower is famed for its vivid night-sky display: “Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs,” writes Clay, and is therefore more visible than other, lesser meteor showers. She does note that this year’s shower will be less vibrant than usual, though, because we’re in a quarter-moon phase, and the light from the moon will make it harder to see the meteors.

That said, according to CNN, you can expect to see about 15 to 20 shooting stars each hour, starting after 9 p.m. in your area (although the best time to watch is during the darkest part of the night, around 2 a.m., NASA notes). If you’re in a city, it’ll be harder to catch it because of the light pollution, and while I did suggest that this would be a nice screen-free activity, I’m obliged to tell you that you can also view it on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook at around 8 p.m. CT.


Look at the Sky Tonight