Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks August 11-12

Press Release From: McDonald Observatory
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013

The Perseid meteor shower will put on its best show on the nights of August 11 and 12, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.

Prime viewing time begins after midnight, with the constellation Perseus in fine view in the northeast. The waxing crescent Moon will have set by then, and will not obscure the view of any meteors. The shower is at its peak during the daylight hours as seen from the United States, so it won’t be as impressive as in some years. However, under dark skies, viewers may see up to a couple of dozen meteors per hour, particularly in the pre-dawn hours of August 12.

Perseid meteors appear to fall from the constellation Perseus, but they are not associated with it. The meteors are actually leftover debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteors recur each year when Earth passes through its debris trail.

If you’d like to try to watch this year’s Perseids, get away from city lights. Look for state or city parks or other safe, dark sites. Lie on a blanket or reclining chair to get a full-sky view. If you can see all of the stars in the Little Dipper, you have good dark-adapted vision.

Rebecca Johnson
Editor, StarDate Magazine
The University of Texas at Austin
+1 512-475-6763

Published bi-monthly by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, StarDate magazine provides readers with skywatching tips, sky maps, beautiful astronomical photos, astronomy news and features, and a 32-page Sky Almanac each January.

Established in 1932, The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas, hosts multiple telescopes undertaking a wide range of astronomical research under the darkest night skies of any professional observatory in the continental United States. McDonald is home to the consortium-run Hobby-Eberly Telescope, one of the world’s largest, which will soon be upgraded to begin the HET Dark Energy Experiment. An internationally known leader in astronomy education and outreach, McDonald Observatory is also pioneering the next generation of astronomical research as a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

The production and distribution of StarDate Media is made possible by a grant from AEP Texas.

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