It’s August and that means the hottest show in the night sky -- the Perseid meteor shower -- will make its annual appearance, peaking in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 11 to 14.
The meteor shower, which tends to build gradually and can produce 50 to 100 meteors per hour, will be active between midnight and dawn and will appear to originate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, according to Matthew Benjamin, a planetary scientist and education program manager at CU-Boulder’s Fiske Planetarium.
Because the moon is waning -- with visibility of its illuminated area getting smaller, resulting in a darker sky -- this year’s Perseids are expected to be outstanding.
“The Perseids are a pretty consistent meteor shower, but it’s the moon that really makes a good or bad show,” said Benjamin. “The moon phase should be quite beneficial to seeing the meteors this year.”
For the best viewpoint, Benjamin advises getting as far away from city lights as possible.
“I would recommend if you want to go out and see the Perseids, make your way into the mountains,” said Benjamin. “Or if you’re in the Denver-Front Range area, get away from the city lights as best you can. Find a real nice dark place that has an eastern view that’s not obscured and doesn’t have a lot of city lights looking to the east.
“This year should be a rather impressive one,” he said. “Some of the forecasts are saying that this is going to be a large burst of meteors so you could see quite a few.”