It’s mid-August already, which means we’re nearing peak-viewing time for the annual Perseids meteor shower. Given Maui’s wide open spaces and relative lack of major urban development (and its resultant light pollution), meteor shower viewing can be pretty spectacular out here. Sadly, this year’s shower coincides with a waxing gibbous moon, which won’t help meteor visibility. Still, we’ve put together a brief but handy guide for those who’d like to see (at the best times) 50-80 meteors per hour.
First, get yourself outside, away from urban lights. Second, face northeast. Third, look up at the sky. Don’t worry about telescopes or binoculars–your eyes are best for meteor viewing.
The shower has been going on since earlier this month, but it peaks Aug. 11-12. Oh, and the best viewing times are between 11pm and 4:30am, according to the website Spacedex.com.
Here’s NASA’s explainer on the meteor shower:
Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Perseus
Active: July 13-Aug. 26, 2016
Peak Activity: Aug. 11-12, 2016
Peak Activity Meteor Count: As many as 200 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second
Notes: The Perseids feature fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains. Best viewing will be from after midnight to before dawn. Even though the moon phase is not the best for viewing, the 2016 shower will be an outburst, with rates double the normal levels.
Photo: Chris Archer