2
Aug
2012

Viewing the 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower

Examples of Perseid meteors as seen at 10pm local daylight time while facing northeast.

Perseid meteors can be seen from anywhere in the northern hemisphere during the month of August. They can be seen during the late evening hours but are best seen between midnight and dawn. The shower is compromised in early August by the full moon. Since most of the Perseid meteors are faint, the bright moonlight will obscure them. The moon will remain a problem right up to the date of maximum activity, which is expected to be on the morning of August 12th.  By the 12th though, the moon will only be 25% illuminated and not nearly as intense as when near its full phase. This will allow fainter meteors to be seen as long as the moon lies outside your field of view.

The weekend of August 11/12 will be prime viewing time for the Perseids. One can view on earlier dates but the rates will be less and the moon more of a problem. On Saturday morning, August 11th, the 35% illuminated moon will rise near 0100 local daylight time (LDT) for observers located in the mid-northern latitudes. The moon will be located in central Taurus, mid-way between the bright orange star Aldebaran and the naked eye star cluster known as the Pleiades. This position lies only 30 degrees from the Perseid radiant, which lies in the northern portion of the constellation Perseus. The radiant is the area of the sky these meteors appear to shoot from. You should center your view more to the north or in the opposite direction to avoid seeing moonlight, which will impair your night vision. Perseid meteors will be visible as soon as it becomes dark on Friday evening, but at only rates of 5 per hour. This is due to the fact that the Perseid radiant lies low in the north at this time and only a small percentage of the activity can be see. See the difference in the position of Perseus in the two illustrations. Meteors from other minor showers plus random activity can be seen at this time of night raising the total to near 10 per hour.

Examples of Perseid meteors as seen at 4am local daylight time while facing northeast.

With each passing hour the Perseid radiant rises higher into the northeastern sky. The hour before the first hint of morning twilight should produce the best rates, which should be near 25 per hour on Saturday morning for observers with transparent skies. Those who have to view under hazy skies will probably only see half this total. On Saturday evening Perseid rates should be 5-10 per hour. On Sunday morning the moon will have moved eastward and is now located in eastern Taurus, some 10 degrees below the bright planet Jupiter, which lies just 5 degrees north of Aldebaran. It is now 25% illuminated and will rise between 0100 and 0200 LDT.  It is now 40 degrees away from the Perseid radiant but still too close to the radiant to view in that direction. For observers with clear, transparent skies, I would expect rates of near 40 Perseids per hour this morning. Again, those with hazy skies will only see half this amount.

The evening of the 12th may provide up to 10 Perseids per hour. On Monday morning the 13th, the 18% illuminated moon will lie just above the brilliant planet Venus and will rise near 0200 LDT. In fact later on that afternoon, the moon will actually pass in front of Venus for those situated in North America. Meanwhile, the Perseids are expected to be slightly weaker on Monday morning with perhaps 30-35 shower members appearing each hour. Beyond the 13th, the moon becomes a non-factor but unfortunately the Perseid rates fall precipitously with less than 5 shower members appearing each hour by the weekend of the  18/19.

There is no need to ask about circumstances for your particular location as the times and dates are good for all locations in North America. For Europe and Asia, the moon’s location will be slightly different but the general circumstances are much the same. If you live south of the equator then that is another matter. The Perseids are not well seen in the southern hemisphere. If you examine the chart for the southern hemisphere you will notice that Perseus is located just above the northern horizon. This is as high as it gets from latitude 25 south. Some activity can be seen shooting upwards, but it is only a fraction of what can be seen in the northern hemisphere with the radiant high in the sky.

Perseids as seen facing north before dawn from the southern hemisphere

All Perseid meteors will shoot from the area of Perseus. You can verify this by tracing the path backwards. If the path intersects northern Perseus then you can be certain it was a member of the Perseid shower. While most Perseid meteors will appear swift, one cannot base shower association on velocity alone. Perseids that appear near the radiant are moving toward you and therefore will appear to move slower than those further away from the radiant. The fastest and longest Perseids will occur about 90 degrees away from the radiant. Perseids seen close to the horizon are moving away from you and will also appear to travel slower than those seen higher in the sky.

Unless you are comfortable, most people are going to be disappointed with the show. If you are serious about seeing meteors then get comfortable in a lounge chair. There will be times when no activity will appear for 5 minutes and then 10 meteors will suddenly appear in the same time span. You may go outside and stand for 5 minutes and not see a thing. You need to get comfortable and watch as long as possible so that you may witness the peaks of activity along with the droughts. Really serious folks will hop in the car and head for dark skies away from the city. This will certainly increase the activity you will see as the fainter meteors become visible. If you are really crazy, then you will count the number of Perseids you see each hour and report it to other crazy people like us at the AMS. It may be crazy, but it is fun to watch natures fireworks. It is also scientifically useful to record this activity as it can reveal the particle density in outer space and help us predict what may occur in the years to come.

If you have any questions, shoot them my way and I will answer the asap.

Clear Skies!

Robert Lunsford

American Meteor Society

About Robert Lunsford

Bob has been interested in the stars as far back as he can recall His first experience with meteors was a biggie, the 1966 Leonid shower. In 1980, a major awaking occurred. He received a sample copy of Meteor News. He was amazed to learn there was a group actually devoted strictly to meteor observing! He joined the group also started to view some of the minor showers list among the pages of Meteor News. Lastly, he was contracted by Springer Publishing in 2007 to write a book on observing meteors. The book is now available and hopefully will be a useful guide to all interested in the enjoyable field of meteor observing. More info about Robert Lunsford →
119 Responses
  1. Joseph Diana says: August 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Hi I am in Northern Utah and I am trying to organize a group trip into the desert to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. We have a bit of a quandary on our hands. Spaceweather.com and a few other sites are saying that the night of August 12 into the morning of Aug 13 will be the peak night ( up to 100+ per hour), Others are saying that the peak will be on 11 into Aug 12. We live in the desert so both nights should be clear. Some in the group prefer that we go on Saturday night so we can sleep in on Sunday. Others want the best show and don’t mind losing sleep. I want the best show and I wouldn’t mind sleeping in. Please advise as to what you would do. Thanks, Joe


    • Joe and All,

      I believe the prediction for a peak on August 13th is a mistake. The time matches all other predictions from the 12th so I believe the author mistakenly continued with the 13th peak, which it was in 2011. I can assure you that the Perseids will be best on Sunday morning August 12th.

      Sincerely,

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


    • Hey, Just wondering if anyone could help me?
      I live in the Sunshine coast, Queensland, Australia.
      and was wondering if i can still see the shower? Is there a good time for us aussie to view it?
      Thanks x


      • You can see a few Perseids shooting upwards from the northern horizon during the last hour before dawn. There will not be many but the ones you do see should be impressive.

        Good Luck!

        Robert Lunsford
        American Meteor Society


  2. I have managed a few photogarphs th last 2 years, though in the UK weather has been a huge problem. Some people might like to try photographing meteors. My suggested camera set-up to Photograph Meteors
    • Check the weather, need as clear a sky as possible, with little or NO clouds .
    • Use a sturdy tripod and remote shutter trigger if available.
    • Set F stop settings just short of wide open.
    • Use the manual mode on the camera to have full control.
    • Use manual focus (focusing on stars can be difficult in a dim viewfinder).
    • If a very distant terrestrial light source is visible, try that or focus on the moon.
    • Set cameras for long shutter times but not too long, to avoid star streaking and CCD noise.
    • Don’t expect that you’ll see every meteor your camera captures (some are as brief as a blink).
    • Attempt meteor photography in an area where skies are VERY dark, well away from city / street lights
    and traffic.
    • Avoid nights where a full moon can brighten the skies.
    • Use a wide angle lens or wide setting with zooms (this increases your likelihood of success).
    • Super wide lenses will result in less impressive meteor photos.
    • Lots of 30 second exposures might do better than one 5 minute exposure, since long exposures with digital
    cameras result in noisy images.
    • Use a lower ISO equivalent settings on digital cameras to minimize unwanted noise and hot pixels.
    • Aim your lens at about 45 degrees away from the prime radiant. This way you’ll capture as much of the meteor
    trail as possible. With a 21mm —28mm lens this will allow you to capture the prime radiant where they first
    appear and the full length of the meteor trails.
    • Exposure – this is the most complex of factors to be considered. You want a long enough exposure so that you
    capture a good number of meteor streaks, yet not so long that the stars themselves start to streak. Because of
    the Earth’s rotation during the course of even a minute or less, any time exposure that includes stars will show
    them as streaks instead of points of light.
    The simple formula for 35mm format is 600 / (Focal Length) = Max Exposure Time. So, for example, if you’re shooting
    with a 24mm lens the math would be: 600/24mm = 25 seconds. (For medium format it’s roughly half this number). This
    means that with a 24mm lens any exposure of longer than 25 seconds will show the stars as streaks rather than points
    of light.
    • Most meteors are seen late at night, after midnight.
    • Dress / prepare for a cold night, you can get pretty cold even in August.
    • Bring a torch just in case it is needed, but try NOT to use it as it will spoil your night vision.
    • Bring a lawn chair and sit back to enjoy the show – be patient and keep still if other photographers are there
    otherwise you’ll appear in every photo if they are using a fisheye lens which sees 180 degrees.

    Settings I have been successful with:-
    Aperture f3.5, ISO 200 to ISO 400, 30 seconds to 60 seconds exposure.
    Manual focus on infinity (ensure “autofocus” is turned OFF). I have manually operated the shutter on the “BULB” setting, holding down the button whilst counting to 30 or up to 60 before releasing. However, you need to be VERY steady to do this as any camera movement will give rise to blur of the final image. A better way is with a remote release if you have one. Be prepared to be out at least an hour or more in order to get used to the dark and be pointing at the right spot. There is no point in moving about, just point at once spot in the sky, they can appear almost anywhere.


    • Hi Richard,

      I am going to attempt to photograph the meteor shower… I really appreciate the tips! Thanks for sharing with us!!! :-)

      Thanks,
      Diana


      • Richard Hope says: August 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

        Hi Diana, I hope my tips were of use to you. Did you manage to see and make any photgraphs? I managed 1 on Thursday 9th though there were huge cloud banks about. Friday night was perfect but I had massive problems with condenstaion / dew on the lens and gave up without a useful photo. Saturday and Sunday nights were 100% overcast, a big thunder storm and rain. Next year I am going to try to get to maybe Madeira, much warmer so less chance of dew and I should be able to get above the clouds on the mountains. Anyway, a year to think and plan. Let me know if you managed anything.


  3. Hi. Inspite of my email adress I am will be with a group in Killarney Prov (Ont) Park from Wed Aug 8 to
    Thu/Fri Aug 16/17 with some 50 campers. I’d like to divide them into 3 groups: Northward of Cass,
    Eastward of Cass and zenith of Cass and have then call out Perseid or Sporadic as the case might be.
    I can separate the groups but I cannot separate individuals. I think I can control duplicates/eliminate most.

    It will be valuable experience for each individual and they will know how to do it alone – but can you
    suggest safeguards so that we can actually make a scientific contribution and not just a local estimate?

    Hoping for clear skies – Bill Sherwood


    • Bill, unfortunately the basis of all meteor data is the single observer. This this many people I think you should concentrate on just giving them valuable experience in identifying Perseids verses non-Perseids. They can then provide useful data when they decide to keep their own records on some other night when they are alone or in a smaller group. I would also suggest that you spread the centers of view so that they cover more of the sky. I would have one group face half-way up to the north, one south, and the other west. This way no one gets stuck looking eastward at the moon. Perseids will be seen in all areas of the sky so no one will be cheated.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  4. We are now living on Oahu, in Hawaii and wondered if we can see them from here. I have 3 kids and they are very excited. We used to watch showers from the coast of N.C. Thanks!


    • Doug and All,

      The article is good for Hawaii too so watch on the morning of August 12 for the best Perseid rates.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


      • I live in N.W. Arkansas…where do I need to be directing my son’s attention, as well as my wife’s & my own?
        we are super-excited!


        • Just look up into the sky and you should see activity in any direction. If the moon is up look in another direction as the glare will ruin your night vision.

          Good Luck!

          Robert Lunsford
          American Meteor Society


  5. Any chances of us in the southern hemisphere seeing anything? I am in South Africa …


    • Andre,

      From your location you may see a few long Perseids shooting upward from the northern horizon in the last hour before dawn. There may not be very many but the ones you see should be spectacular. The morning of August 12 would be your best chance but if that morning is cloudy try either the morning before or after. Good luck and let us know what you see!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


    • Andre’,I’m originally from South West Africa and were so spoiled by the star shows in the Namib Desert, Damaraland and the Kalahari-iff you ever got the change to visit.Kontak my vir ‘n vriendskaplike praatjie op 0827770011.Christie


  6. Kristy Jeanne says: August 7, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I’m so excited to hear about this! I’m in Seattle WA and the 12th is my bf’s birthday but his parents are in town until sunday night, do you think Sunday night to monday morning will still be worth driving somewhere in the mountains to view? Also just curious if I need to be watching a specific direction or if just looking up into the sky so to speak would work? Lol sorry if that’s a silly question.


    • I live in Northern California (Wine Country) 1/2 hr from Bodega Bay and it was just spectacular! Did u and the BD boy get a chance to.see it? I read ur post so since we live close (as far as the sky is concerned) I didn’t bother posting… I was unhappy to say the least, that u didn’t get a response. I guess its expeted with the volume of questions to reply to… Chlorine it up to human error! Anyway, hope u didn’t miss the show and Happy Belated BD to ur significant other!!!
      Sincerely,

      Richelle


      • To Kristy, I have spellcheck on and it has a tendency to change my words… The word “Chlorine” is supposed to be “chalk” just didn’t want u to think I am a idiot! Okay, and everyone else that reads it, My.listed website is bad enough, LOL.
        Richelle


  7. I live in Maldives, Indain Ocean. Will we be able to see.


    • Since the Maldives are located near the equator, you will be able to see good activity, just not as strong as those situated further north. Due to your location rates on both the mornings of the 12th and 13th may be similar. For the best rates, look toward the north during the last few hours before dawn on either morning. Perseid activity will shoot upward from the northern sky.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  8. What are the best places to see the meteoroid in NY. I don’t think 42nd is. Any suggestions?


  9. Kristy and All,

    Sunday night/Monday will still offer a good display of meteors so yes, it will be worth the drive. If the moon is in the sky will look away in another direction. If not, then you can face any direction with perhaps the quadrant north to east being the best as you will be able to see meteor shooting out of the Perseid radiant and moving in all directions.

    Clear Skies!

    Robert Lunsford
    American Meteor Society


  10. We are in northern/central Florida, around Gainesville, what is the best day and time for us? We are in the country and it gets pretty dark here…also which direction should we be looking in?


    • Jude and All,

      As stated in the article, the best time to watch would be the last few hours before dawn on Sunday morning August 12th. Since the moon will be in the eastern sky at that time, any other direction would be suitable to see Perseid activity.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  11. Brenda Sue says: August 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I am excited to have the chance here in north Texas to let my daughter see this event. Hopefully we can find a place that will give us a great view away from all the lights in town!


  12. How will the viewing be in Southern California?


    • Gil and All,

      In Southern California you need to get away from the city lights to see the display at its best. Unfortunately there is also the possibility that the mountains may be cloudy due to thunderstorms. So it would be smart to look online at the latest satellite map before heading out. Usually the clouds from thunderstorms dissipate after midnight so the prime viewing hours should be clear unless storms are still brewing at night.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  13. Jeannine Doran says: August 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Any suggestions for North Carolina, Asheville area?


    • Jeannine and All,

      As stated in the article, the best time to look, no matter your location, is during the last couple of hours before morning twilight on August 12th.


  14. Any suggestions for the Springfield Mass and surrounding towns area for viewing? My kids are excited but we live in the city with lots of lights…..any suggestions would be great.


    • Debbi,

      I would search online for your local astronomy club. I bet they have a safe area with dark skies that you can use for viewing.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


    • You’ll probably want to head north into the more rural areas like Montague or that area out west of Greenfield. I went to boarding school on the now-defunct Northfield campus of NMH way up on I-91 by the VT border, & I remember I even saw the northern lights (aurora) there once.


  15. Hi Robert,

    This is my first attempt at viewing the Perseid. I live in the midwest (Chicago). What would be a good time to start watching the Perseid? Since the Perseid peak at morning of the 12th, should I start viewing around 3 am or midnight? Thanks.


    • Jason and All,

      It all depends on how long you wish to view. If only for an hour or two then 3am would be better. You will see more activity at 3am compared to midnight. The best hour is usually 3-4am when the constellation of Perseus is high in the sky and the sky is still perfectly dark.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      Ameican Meteor Society


  16. Amanda Wren says: August 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Hi, I am planning on getting out about 3am on Sunday morning. I am on the Gold Coast (just south of Brisbane) in Queensland, Australia. Which direction should I be looking towards? Thank you!


    • Amanda and All,

      You should face toward the north with the moon out of your field of view. Due to the low altitude of Perseus, you will not see many meteors but the ones you do see should be impressive. From Australia, the morning of the 13th should also be active. Let us know what you see!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  17. Hi There,

    I just realized that I will be up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California camping the night of the 14th/morning of the 15th. Would you expect that we would see much? The meteor shower sounds like it should have slowed by then, but we will be up high, with no city lights whatsoever.

    Thanks!


    • Lisa and All,

      Yes the Perseids will have slowed to 10-15 per hour at best but there are several other minor meteor showers active plus 10-15 random meteors per hour. So you still should be able to see up to 35 meteors per hour which is pretty impressive.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  18. HI robert

    I am from India , would you be able to tell me what time i will be able to see these meteor shower’s in India. I am located southern part of India place called Bangalore…it will be great if you would be bale to help me out with this.
    Thank You
    Jithesh Kunjumon


    • Jithesh and All,

      India is no different than any other location. The best Perseid rates will be seen during the last few hours before dawn. The only difference for you is that the rates seen each morning of the 12th and the 13th will be roughly the same as the peak occurs between the two mornings near 1800 local standard time in India. So either morning will give you the best rates for this years Perseid shower.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  19. I’m on deployment in Afghanistan, and I was wondering if I would be able to see the shower over here.


    • Michael and All,

      You bet you can! For the best rates you can watch on the mornings of August 12th or 13th during the last couple of hours before dawn. Just remember to face away from the moon toward the darkest portion of the sky. Good luck and let us know what you saw.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  20. Hey im from bangladesh what’s the best time to catch the Perseid here?


    • Salma and All,

      It’s the same time worldwide; the best time is the last couple of hours before the start of dawn. Latitude causes more difference than longitude. If your skies are cloudy on the morning of the 12th then try again on the 13th as meteor rates would be similar both mornings in Bangladesh.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  21. Hi Robert. I plan on venturing out tomorrow morning at 3 a.m. I live in Cold Lake, Alberta at 54.8 degrees north so I should have a pretty decent show, if it doesn’t rain. The reason I’m not planning to go out on Sunday morning is that there are thundershowers in the forecast and tonight, the skies should be clear. Here’s to everyone having clear skies and keep watching the northeast!


  22. Adam zinsmeister says: August 10, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Any chance I could see the shower in Annapolis MD? If so… Is the north, north-east sky best place to look if I’m out around 3-4 a.m.


    • Adam and All,

      Annapolis is fine as long as it is not cloudy and there is not too much light pollution. The glare from city lights will obscure a good number of the meteors. You can look in any direction as long as the moon is not within your field of view.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  23. saw a few last night 09th/10th early hours but going to be watching every night as long as weather stays clear and if i can get my camera to work should have some good pics..is my favorite time of year birthday and meteor showers :D


  24. Becky Kasumba says: August 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I am new to this and have some younger children that are very interested. How early in the morning would I have to wake them up to see this? Would 4:00 am be okay? Not sure exactly how “pre dawn” they would have to be up to see it.


    • Becky and All,

      That depends on how long you wish to view. I assume dawn starts around 5am so 4am would be fine if you wish to limit yourself to one hour of viewing. If you wish to view a little longer then perhaps 3am would be better?

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American meteor Society


  25. i am in gujarat, india. what would be the best time to watch the showers?

    thanks.


    • The best time to watch would be the last couple of hours before the start of morning twilight on August 12th and 13th.

      Good luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  26. Hi I live in Basel – Switzerland. Whats the best time to watch?


    • Dorothy,

      The best time to watch would be the last couple of hours before the start of morning twilight on August 12th.

      Good luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  27. HI robert
    I am from India , would you be able to tell me what time i will be able to see these meteor showers in India. I reside in it’s capital, that’s Delhi (located in the northern India). I would really appreciate if you could help me as it would be my first and I’m really excited about it
    Thank You


    • Aarushi,

      The best time to watch from India would be the last couple of hours before the start of morning twilight on August 12th and 13th.

      Good luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  28. Hello everyone!
    I am really enjoying the information from everyone and the article, thank you for sharing. I am on Long Island and live across the street from the beach facing the south shore. We just got a celstron c8 telescope. I have yet to use it for a meteor shower. Any advice on taking one to the beach for this; I would be very grateful.

    Thank you
    Reine’


    • Reine’,

      Telescopes are not intended for viewing meteors. Their field of view is too small so the odds of a meteor passing through the field is remote even during the strongest showers. No optical aid is necessary to view meteors as you need a wide field of view to watch a large portion of the sky for activity.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  29. We live in South Mississippi, about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Will this be an adequate location to have a good viewing the morning of the 12th? Also, do you predict a very substantial number of meteors on the morning of the 11th?


    • Russell,

      It’s a good spot as long as the skies are clear and you are as far away as possible from city lights. As for the morning of the 11th, Perseid rates should be good with maximum rates near 25 per hour seen during the last couple of hours before dawn.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  30. Its gonna be partly cloudy tomorrow ( 11-12 ) so i have to go out tonight. I was just wondering if i go out tonight will the zhr be about the same as tomorrow night? Thanks.


    • Alli and All,

      The ZHR (Zenith Hourly Rate) will peak on Sunday morning. I would not stress the zhr as most observers cannot get close to seeing these rates. The zhr may be predicted to be 100 but in conditions less than perfect and the fact that the Perseid radiant is never positioned exactly in the zenith means that the actual visible rates will be much less than the zhr, often 50-75% less. Still the visible rates on Saturday morning should still be impressive with rates peaking near 25 Perseids per hour.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  31. I’m from San Jose, California and was wondering what the best spot around my area would be to watch the meteor showers or if it doesn’t matter. I live in the hills would this be an adequate spot to watch it?


    • Natalie and All,

      If you can see the Milky Way then your skies are adequate. You need to hope that low clouds and fog obscure the lowlands which will help darken your sky. If you cannot see the Milky Way then traveling further from the city would help increase your rates.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  32. Hello I’m in east London,UK going to try and see some meteors for the first time. Wish me luck Xxxx


    • Michelle,

      Try and find the darkest spot possible as nearby nights will obscure all but the brightest meteors.

      Good Luck and let us know what you see!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  33. hi, i live in new york city. where and when could i watch the meteor shower.


    • You will not see much activity from the city area. The further out of town you go the better. The peak will occur during the last few hours before dawn Sunday. Activity during the same time tomorrow and Monday will also be good.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  34. fwiw, you can find dark sky areas near you at http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/


  35. Hey, great info! Pretty gutted I am in NZ, I have seen so much over the last few days about this shower and got really excited for tonight, borrowed another tripod so I could use both my DSLR’s with different lenses and get twice the chance to get some awesome pictures, and tonight I was doing some extra research on settings etc, and came across this… Sucks that I won’t get quite the show as the rest of you. I am in New Zealand, not much further south you can go from here :( So I guess I am as far away as one can get from witnessing this event. I had planned to stay up most of the night and take shots, now I guess I will go to bed early and wake up an hour or 2 before dawn and hope it is a clear morning and see what I can capture facing north.


  36. Hi, I’m from the west of Ireland and I was talking to my uncle yesterday who told me he saw what appeared to be a small rock and heard what sounded like a crackling noise (like a firework is how he described it) fly past him as he worked outside (about 10m/30ft above him). It happened at about 4/5pm so it wasn’t dark and it was only because of its noise that he noticed it. He had no idea what it was but said it disappeared in the distance into a field. I told him to try and trace where it landed today but just wondered if you thought there is any chance he would find anything and if so would it just be a rock or would it be distinguishable in any way from any other rocks? Or would it have just disintegrated before it landed? Thanks


    • If the meteorite survived that far down it still should be intact. Meteorites can vary in appearance but it should be quite different than the normal stones you see around the countryside.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  37. Hi Admin, Will the Perseid shower be visible in southern parts of India. Pls tell me…
    Thanks


    • India is no different than any other location. The best Perseid rates will be seen during the last few hours before dawn. The only difference for you is that the rates seen each morning of the 12th and the 13th will be roughly the same as the peak occurs between the two mornings near 1800 local standard time in India. So either morning will give you the best rates for this years Perseid shower.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  38. Hey, I’m in NJ and was wondering if I would still be able to see some of the meteors on Tuesday night, August 14th. I know the peak is this weekend, but was going to make tuesday like an outdoor date night. If cetain hours would provide better seeing, that would be appreciated too. Thanks :)


    • Rocky and All,

      Evenings are not the best time to see meteor activity. I would expect that you may be able to see around 5 meteors per hour on Tuesday evening, depending on the darkness of your skies. I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  39. I’ve read the previous posts and am glad to see you are a *very* patient man, Mr. Lunsford! I’ve never seen the Perseids before, so, here’s my question. Is it even remotely possible for me to view them? I live at 69° N, Tromsø, Norway. I highly doubt it will be possible for me to see them at all, but, I figured it’d be better to ask an expert than to miss out entirely. I’m on an island, so city lights aren’t much of an issue, just the latitude.


    • Thanks for the kind words. One has to be patient our you will end up driving yourself crazy! :-)

      Actually your main obstacle to you seeing the Perseids is the lack of true darkness you experience this time of year. I calculate that the sun never sets more than 6 degrees below your horizon this time of year. This means that only the brightest stars and planets become visible at “night”. Under these conditions you can see Perseid meteors, but only the brightest ones that equal the visible stars and planets in brightness. This probably means that you will see something near 5 meteors per hour. It’s better than nothing!

      Good luck and I would be interested in what you can see.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


      • Heh, sorry, I was so excited about the possibility, I didn’t make myself very clear. Yes, we have mostly daylight round the clock. Currently, it’s just dark enough (in my estimation) to see something, but it’s cloudy (also fairly constant around here). If I recall correctly from what I read earlier today in this response thread, the “best” viewing times are in the pre-dawn hours EST. The latitude/cloud cover are the biggest issues here, but, if the “best” time for viewing is simultaneously with the east coast, that would put viewing time here around 11am-12pm, which would mean I’ll be able to see nothing, most likely. Is this correct or should I be running outside at “pre-dawn” local time? Heh, that’s a good one, it’s just barely dark out now and it’s almost 2am here.


        • Due to your high latitude you can watch anytime it is dark. You do not have to wait until later in the morning because the constellation of Perseus is high in your sky all night long.

          Good luck with the clouds!

          Robert Lunsford
          American Meteor Society


          • Sweet! I’ll start checking again tonight as soon as the light starts fading. Last night, unfortunately, it was continuously cloudy even after the sun had “risen”. Fingers crossed though, it’s supposed to be overcast again tonight. If I manage to spot anything, I’ll let you know.


  40. Veronica Marks says: August 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you for your patience and the information you have given. I am very excited about see the shower’s tonight!


  41. Hi, I am currently stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and would like to know when the best range of times on the night of the 11th to the morning of the 12th to see the perseids. Thank you!


    • David and All,

      Being that far south, you had better save your efforts to view the Perseids until after midnight. The rates will increase each hour during the morning hours, peaking during the last hour before morning twilight begins to interfere.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  42. I Stay in Maharashtra, India its very cloudy here would be able to see the perseid meteor shower?? Plz reply ASAP


    • Abhi and All,

      Well if your skies clear you will be able to see Perseid activity during the morning hours. As with all locations, the best hour will be that one before the start of morning twilight. If the skies remain cloudy on the morning of the 12th, try again on the 13th during the same time.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  43. The Perseid meteor shower lasts for how much time once it starts?? Thank you so much for the info… :)


  44. I live in Fort Woth, TX what time is a good time to see it?


    • The later the better with the last hour before dawn being the best.

      Good luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  45. Hello & Thank you for taking my question. I live in a small town if Cave City, KY. and wondered what night & times would be the best for me to get outside & start viewing the showers? I’m eager to see them. Which way do I need to look toward or how do I know? Hope that doesn’t sound dumb..lol. Can a person take great photos of these meteors with a digital camera or do I need to use one with faster film speed, etc.? Thanks for all your help! Looking forward to natures amazing wonders!!!


    • Debbie and All,

      Sunday morning will be the best time to see Perseid activity, the later the better. If the moon is up look in some other direction as the glare will ruin your night vision. If the moon has not risen yet then look toward the darkest part of the sky. To take pictures of meteors you need a camera that has a setting that lets you keep the shutter open indefinitely. Unfortunately most inexpensive digital lack this feature. Their limit is usually 15 seconds or so. Only old mechanical SLR’s and new DSLR’s have this feature. Depending on the ISO setting of your camera, you need to be able to keep the shutter open ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Then you have to be lucky enough to have a bright meteor pass though where you are aiming.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  46. Hi there. I live in Arcadia Wisconsin. Any suggestions in a direction… or do you think we will see much? Very excited!
    Thank you much!!


    • Natasha and All,

      If the moon is above the horizon look so that the moon is not in your field of view. If not, look in any direction.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  47. Hey, I’m up in Olympia, Washington and planning on going camping with some friends the night of August 13/14. Will we see any meteors?


    • Sean and All,

      Yes, by that time the moon will be out of the way and you should see good activity all night long. The best time will be the last few hours before dawn when up to 20 meteors per hour may be seen under dark skies.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  48. Hi, I live in Arusha, Tanzania, is there any chance I will be able to watch meteor showers?


    • Levis and All,

      Although the Perseid maximum has now passed, you can still see good meteor activity during the last few hours before dawn from Tanzania.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  49. Hi I’m from central Queensland. Just wondering what are the best times to see the shower at. Just so I’m not up all night thanks :-)


    • Maria,

      Even though the Perseid maximum has now passed, you can still see some activity during the last hour before morning twilight. Look toward the north and watch for meteors shooting upwards from the northern horizon.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  50. In Illinois, cloudiness broke up @ midnite here and we saw quite a number before 2am, and was clouding up again.
    I am hoping for more breaks in the clouds before daylight. Saw one really spectacular streak, with a persistent glow for
    several seconds after. I love this stuff!!


  51. tim sprague says: August 12, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I’m under clear skys and no moon, in Baja, Mexico, about 100 miles south of Ensenada!! Thanks for your great info! This is the “best” I’ve seen since ’96!

    In about 20 minutes, I counted 10 clear sightings looking just about North.
    The first and ninth were longest and brightest and both came from the North East.

    The others were distinct but short lived and appeared to come from a variety of directions. Oh, this was from behind my house comfortably leaned back with my jacket on.


  52. its about 2:40 am here on the kitsap penninsula in washington state , i have been out watching since about 12:30am and at first only saw around 5 an hour now were up to 10 to15 that ive seen in the last hour or so, there have been some real bright long duration ones maybe 12 or so..not the most intense shower ive seen but active none the less…not very often our weather up here allows any viewing at all so its a real treat for sure…..


  53. Hi I am from long island my . And last night was cloudy but I still saw it. I would like to know if I can see it again tonight because some friends had to work last night. And my second question is: if we can c the alienation of the moon, mars too. Thanks a lot


    • Leslie,

      Yes, you can still see Perseid activity tonight too. They appear all night long but are best see during the last few hours before dawn.

      As you your second question, I am not certain as what you are asking. My guess is that you are asking if you can see the occultation of Venus by the moon tomorrow afternoon. If so, the answer is yes but only with difficulty. You must be able to find the crescent moon in the afternoon sky low in the western sky. Just above it will be a bright speck, which is Venus. The bright limb of the moon will eventually cover Venus with the planet reappearing on the western limb of the moon some 45 minutes later. Binoculars would help you see it and a telescope would be the best thing to view it though.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  54. Good evening everyone, We are from brooklyn and we are planning to view the persied meteor shower tonight.
    I know its a bit late to ask but we are planning to head to long island to view the shower, but yet to have a specific location to go yet. from what we have heard the possible better view places would be location near the west babylon or the sunken meadow state park.

    We are hoping to get an answer of any better viewing places with-in our area that you guys would recommend us to, I know we are asking a bit too rush, hope to get an answer as soon as possible!

    Thanks so much in advance!!


  55. The actual results on the morning of maximum activity were a bit better than expected. I was out viewing from the mountains in eastern San Diego County. The sky was impressive with the Milky Way looking like a long cloud of faint stars stretching from the northeast all the way to the southwest. I was counting the meteor activity from 1:30am to 5:00am PDT. During those 3.5 hours I counted a total of 173 meteors with 144 of them belonging to the Perseid meteor shower. Many of them were faint and would not have been seen if they did not pass close to the center of my field of view. There were also many bright ones that could been seen all over the sky. Many of the brightest meteors left persistent trains, which is a result of the meteor passing through the upper atmosphere and “exciting” the air molecules and making them momentarily glow. It is not smoke from the meteor itself. Between 3 and 4am I counted a total of 52 Perseids, which was the best rate of the night. After this time the moon rose higher into the eastern sky and reduced the number of meteors seen the remainder of the night.

    Perseid meteors are still active and will remain visible at reduced numbers for the next two weeks. I would not wait too long as rates fall from 20 per hour now down to near 1 in two weeks. The next major meteor shower will not occur until mid-October so take advantage of the Perseids while they are still active.

    Be sure to let us know what you saw!

    Robert Lunsford
    American Meteor Society


  56. I saw a meteoroid or whatever the proper term is, at 4:15 am this morning in Aurora, Ontario right outside my window. It seemed very close.


  57. dear robert i am from australia and i can not seem to find anything on predictions of shooting starts this month of september !! i am only asking because my girl friend has never seen one and i would love to show her how beautiful they are !! …like we can always just lay out side but i thought maybe there might be some predictions of when one might happen !! i live in qeensland austraila in the city of rockhampton if you could point me in the right derection i would be very greatful or just any help on this matter would be great !! thank you regards cameron


    • Cameron and All,

      September is not the strongest month for meteors, especially in Australia, where the influx of random is near its annual minimum. If the sky is clear then my suggestion would be head out of town this weekend and point out some of the interesting objects in the night sky above. Start with a list of satellites that you can look for. Visit http://www.heavens-above.com, log in and print a list of satellites for your location. Go out just as it becomes dark as this is the best time to try and view satellites. Satellites will appear just like stars, only they move slowly, taking around 5 minutes to cross the sky. While looking for satellites you can point out some of the other highlights of the sky. First will be Saturn and the bright star Spica, which will appear low in the west not far above the horizon. Slightly higher in the west, but dimmer (but distinctly orange) Mars will lie very close to the star called Zubenelgunbi (love that name!) in the constellation of Libra the scales. Overhead the Milky Way will look like a long cloud stretching from the southwest to the northeast. The brightest part will lie nearly overhead in the constellation of Sagittarius. While looking at all this stuff you might get lucky a catch a meteor, which will appear like a “shooting star”.

      I hope this helps!

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  58. My husband and I were in the hot tub last night, 12 Dec 2012, and started seeing what seemed like a meteor shower. We counted 30 occurences – most quick & short, but a few slow and long trailing. We’ve seen this once before, several years ago, but earlier in the year. Could we still be seeing Perseid meteors? I noticed 5 people reported fireballs last night, 2 were in IL and TN. A couple of the lights we saw looked larger and even like a double one or had a small tail. We live just south of Springfield, MO.


    • You were seeing the Geminid meteor shower which appear every December 13 and 14.

      Robert Lunsford
      American Meteor Society


  59. Hi,
    Im currently deployed in Afghanistan. Will I be able to see them tonight? And what would be the best time for me to watch with the most activity?


    • From Afganistan, view during the last few hours before dawn. Perseid meteors can be seen during all hours of the night but will be most numerous after the moon has set and during the post midnight hours. It still should be a very good display tonight.

      Good Luck!

      Robert Lunsford


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