How to watch the Perseid meteor shower this week

Updated Aug 10, 2016
(Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks this year on the night of August 11 through the morning of August 13, according to NASA. The event can be witnessed from much of the Northern Hemisphere.

» Superstitious? Lunar eclipse, rare comet and full ‘Snow’ moon all coming Friday

To get the best view of a meteor shower, astronomy experts recommend dark locations at least an hour away from urban areas. Hills or farms with little to no trees are preferred.

Skyglow, the light pollution caused by localized street lights, will block out the stars and negatively affect your viewing experience.

“You want to try and get as clear view of a horizon as possible so you can see as much sky as you can,” James Sowell, director of the Georgia Tech Observatory, said in a 2015 phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A meteor passes across the sky during the peak in activity of the annual Perseids meteor shower in the village of Rufforth, near York, northern England, on Aug. 12, 2015. Photo: OLI SCARFF

On a normal night, stars appear more brightly between an hour after sunset and 50 minutes before sunrise. However, meteor showers are best viewed between 3 to 4 a.m., when the Earth rotates in the direction of the comet's debris field, according to Sowell.

During the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, stargazers can see up to 100 meteors an hour, NASA says.

Tips and tricks for watching the Perseid meteor shower 

  • Leave your telescope at home.
  • Be patient. Streaks will average one every three minutes.
  • Bring a jacket and lots of bug spray.
  • Adjust your eyes to the darkness. Don’t go indoors or use your smartphone at least 10 minutes before stargazing.
  • Best places to watch meteor showers in Georgia