The best meteor shower of the year peaks this weekend
The Perseids rarely disappoint and the stars are aligning for a great show this year.
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Every year, the earth’s orbit takes us through the dusty trail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle in August. When little pieces of dust hit our atmosphere at more than 100,000 miles per hour, they burn up and create what many call “shooting stars.” This year, the show could be amazing.
Other than clouds, the big thing that ruins stargazing and meteor watching is light pollution. Night pollution comes mainly from man-made things but the Moon can also cause problems. On a night with a bright full moon, your eyes have a hard time picking up the relatively faint light of meteors. This happened last year. A full moon ruined the show and we barely mentioned the shower in our newscasts.
This weekend, the moon is only going to be 7% illuminated (just a slim crescent) plus it doesn’t rise in the Eastern sky until 3:24am.
I’ve been “hunting” meteors for years and I’m really excited about our chances Saturday night (August 12) into Sunday morning (August 13). The peak aligning with the weekend means many of us get the chance to stay out late and sacrifice a few hours of sleep.
My tip-- find a dark spot. The moon won’t bother your view this year but electric lights will. The farther you can get away from city lights, the better. A park or campground like James River State Park in Buckingham county would be perfect. But don’t let your setting stop your from trying. The Perseids have a history of producing what are called “fireballs.” These are exceptionally bring and long-lasting streaks of light across the sky.
Some Virginia State Parks have events Saturday night
Best of Luck, and lets hope for clear skies!
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