August sky viewing

Full Moon over Northeast Kansas on August 10. Photo by David Bezadpour.

What could be better than to actually have clear skies and cool temperatures for the annual Perseid meteor shower?

We’re in a for a treat this week with the weather as is should cooperate for the viewing of the Perseid shower each night through August 13. As Earth swings through the debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, we experience it as a shower of meteors across the night sky. While some of the best viewing is during the early morning hours, there should be good viewing during any of the overnight period. You’ll want to be either watching the constellation Perseus for where they originate or since they’ll radiate across the sky, just looking straight up is usually a good way to catch a good view of the shower.

Here’s the bad news…the Supermoon (this month’s Full Moon was 30% brighter than other months) isn’t going to help things out. Viewing of the meteors will be limited to only the brighter ones as any faint meteor streaks will more than likely lose out to the brightness of the Moon this year.

The Perseid meteors do include several “fireballs,” which are the brightest meteors that can be quite spectacular. Even with the loss of seeing the fainter streaks, you can expect to see 20-30 meteors per hour. That equates to one every couple of minutes. Not a bad excuse to get out and enjoy the great cool weather over the next two nights!

Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller

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