Moonless sky should provide stellar Perseid meteor shower starting Wednesday
DENVER — A moonless evening could give stargazers a fantastic light show Wednesday and Thursday morning.
The annual Perseid meteor shower, which is known for being among the brightest of meteor showers, is happening near the tail end of summer. The major meteor shower will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
“If you see one meteor shower this year, make it August’s Perseids or December’s Geminids,” NASA said. “The Perseids feature fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains, and in 2015 there will be no moonlight to upstage the shower.”
The best part about the showing is that it will happen a day before the new moon, meaning the night skies will be dark and perfect for meteor spotting. Under clear and dark skies, observers could expect to see up to 100 shooting stars an hour.
Astronomy experts say those conditions have not been available since 2010.
Stargazers, campers or astronomy lovers will not need any additional equipment such as a telescope to see the meteor shower. These fiery streaks of light should be visible to the naked eye.
But going to a rural area away from urban spaces that are filled with light pollution will increase the chances of seeing the Perseid meteor shower. The meteors will peak after midnight, with some of the strongest showings happening in the predawn hours.
The show builds gradually and can produce up to 100 meteors per hour.
The Perseids are active from July 13 to Aug. 26, according to the American Meteor Society, a nonprofit scientific organization that supports the research of astronomers.
The meteor shower is composed of particles released from Comet 109/Swift-Tuttle during its many trips to the inner solar system, a region comprising terrestrial planets and asteroids.
The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus because that is where the meteors seem to originate from when looking up at the sky.