For meteor shower enthusiast, late summer is the height of the season, as the annual Perseid Meteor Shower will begin its show. The night should make for some great viewing of planets and meteors.
To start, late in the day towards dusk you will see Venus, Saturn, Mars and a thin crescent moon tightly grouped in the western sky. As the moon and planets set early, around 10:00 p.m., the time for viewing meteors will begin. The almost new moon will make for a dark sky in the northern hemisphere, perfect for viewing the night sky.
As the Earth passes through a phase of heavy dust from behind Comet Swift, tiny particles will enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Those particles then begin to burn up, giving us some spectacular views. Though you may be able to see some meteors from late July through August 22nd, the peak will occur around August 12th and August 13th.
The best time for viewing should be after midnight in the northeast sky. The naked eye is best for viewing as they pass thru the night sky with a speed up to 140,000 MPH. Even though we haven’t seen Comet Swift since 1992, it is still creating an amazing show for all of us happy night viewers!