Where in the sky and at what time can I view the Perseid meteor shower?


Quick Answer

The Perseid meteor shower is visible to viewers in the Northern Hemisphere in the same quadrant of the sky as the constellation Perseus, between the middle of June and the middle of August. The meteor shower is most active and easiest to see Aug. 9th through Aug. 12th.

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Full Answer

Between Aug. 9th to 12th, the best day to view the meteor shower is on the night that the moon is least illuminated, according to the Time and Date website. The overlap between the shower's peak and the phases of the moon change each year, with optimal viewing on nights with a new moon, as during the 2015 viewing.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by the debris field left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which takes 133 years to complete an orbit around the sun. The meteor shower is at its strongest right after the comet passes along the portion of its orbit that intersects with Earth's orbit after it passes near the sun. According to Earth Sky science news, the comet's closest passage to the sun, called its perihelion, last occurred in 1992 and is expected to do so again in 2126. The most powerful Perseid meteor shower on record occurred in 1972. The first recorded viewing of the shower is found in a Chinese manuscript from 36 A.D.

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