Perseid Meteor Shower Visible Tonight
If the clouds stay away there will be a show in the sky tonight with the annual Perseid meteor showers.
The annual summer meteor shower will be visible for the next week in the northeast sky but peak time will come tonight into Monday morning and all you need is your eyes to see the meteors streak through the sky.
The National Weather Service says the best time to see the shower is between 11p.m. and 4:30a.m. The forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies with the chance of showers at that time.
Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells ABC News that the further away from city lights you can get the more of "nature's fireworks" you will be able to see. Cooke says there could be up to 60 shooting stars per hour and all you need to do is lie flat on your back.
- Find a unobstructed location that permits wide sky viewing.
- Get away from lights. In New Jersey, light pollution can be severe. There are, however, locations with dark skies. The fewer the lights, the better.
- Get a deck chair and your favorite beverage, and sit back and relax. Be patient. With light pollution, you won't see every meteor, but you can see quite a few.
- Let your eyes adjust. It can take several minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. You should not use any electronic devices.
- Your chances of seeing meteors increase as the night proceeds. After midnight and before dawn, our position on Earth is "facing" the meteor stream and increases the chances of a meteor entering the atmosphere. There is no single best time to view but the dark hours before dawn are optimal.
The Perseids are associated with a comet called Swift-Tuttle, which circles the sun every 133 years according to the Weather Channel. Earth passes through the comet’s debris which is made up of thousand-year-old dust and ice. The burning up of those bits causes the meteor shower.
Can't get outside? Beginning at 11pm Eastern Time and ending at 3am NASA will stream footage of the Perseids from its Slooh Space Camera, a robotic camera.