The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Here


2018 Perseids meteor shower with the Milky way, taken in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Alps. | Image by Space.com/Getty Images

The Perseid meteor shower will bring impressive sights to the summer night sky this weekend as its galactic tour should bring it within the eyesight of North Texans.

NASA determined that the most active time for the meteor shower would be from July 17 to August 24, with the peak happening August 11-13.

Depending on where you are in North America, sky gazers could see up to 40 meteors per hour during peak viewing hours.

Originating from the Swift-Tuttle comet, the Perseid meteors are debris that breaks off from the comet as it flies past Earth every year.

Swift-Tuttle is a hulking “snowball” of ice, rock, and dust that makes a 133-year orbit around the sun. We last saw the comet itself in 1992, and it will not come close to us again until 2125. Still, the Perseid meteor shower can usually be seen each year.

To experience the Perseids, finding an area away from artificial light is best. If there is a lot of light pollution where you live, try visiting a state or national park that allows for overnight camping.

Big Thicket National Preserve is the closest national park to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, four hours south on I-45. Hot Springs National Park is also four hours east on I-30.

If you cannot escape the city, wait for your eyes to adjust to the night sky. Unfortunately, the full moon will be a factor and could cause obstructed viewing on August 11.

“Sadly, this year’s Perseids peak will see the worst possible circumstances for spotters,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke said in a post. “Most of us in North America would normally see 50 or 60 meteors per hour,” he said, “But this year, during the normal peak, the full Moon will reduce that to 10-20 per hour at best.”

As badly as North Texas needs the rain, the possibility of weekend thunderstorms could make nighttime viewing even worse. Still, many Texans are likely willing to accept the tradeoff.

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Aubrey Loyd
Aubrey Loyd
7 months ago

Thanks for the Pic of meteors!

The ‘country-side’ lighting allowed the greater ‘seeing’ than typical here in the ‘city-lighting’