Perseid Meteor Shower May Be Visible Despite ‘Super Moon’
The nighttime sky will be the stage tonight for the Perseid meteor shower, an annual phenomenon that happens around mid-August each year.
According to information published by the Bishop Museum J. Watumull Planetarium, the meteor shower is created “as Earth wanders into the space debris of comet 109 P Swift Tuttle,” and will feature up to 80 meteors per hour.
The planetarium website states that, “little bits of the comet debris hit our air so fast that they burn up from the friction, causing shooting stars.”
Prime viewing is in an area where it is darker, away from city lights in the eastern sky. While the event was expected to peak on Aug. 11-12, activity is also expected tonight (Aug. 12-13), with viewing best between midnight and dawn in the eastern sky, according to the Bishop Museum Planetarium.
The event comes on the heels of Sunday’s “super moon,” and with the moon still in a waning gibbous phase with more than 90% illumination, it could pose some interference for ideal viewing.
However, Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office is cited on NASA’s website as saying that while meteor sightings may be lower overall, “the Perseids are rich in fireballs as bright as Jupiter or Venus. These will be visible in spite of the glare.”
Online viewing is available in a live stream via Slooh.com.