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How long should the meteor shower be going on?

0 Comments 29 January 2014

Question by Jordyn: How long should the meteor shower be going on?
Don’t shoot this down as a stupid question. Yes, I know they are out mid august every year, but last year they continued after the main one for a while.
My main question is, will there still be some meteors next weekend? I have an event to be at where it would be nice to go see them with my group.

Best answer:

Answer by campbelp2002
The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the new-Moon night of Sunday–Monday, August 12–13.

The Perseids have a broad peak. So don’t despair if clouds are forecast for Sunday night — or if work obligations prevent you from staying up until dawn on Monday.

The meteor rate increases to roughly 30 per hour in the predawn hours on Saturday, 45 per hour on Sunday morning, and 80 per hour before the sky starts to get light on Monday morning. That’s for a single observer at a dark-sky site in the north temperate latitudes.

On any given night, activity starts slowly in the evening but picks up by 11 p.m., when the radiant gets reasonably high in the sky. The meteor rate increases steadily through the night as the radiant rises higher, peaking just before the sky starts to get light, roughly 1½ to 2 hours before sunrise.

For the most pleasant viewing experience, find a spot far from any city lights. Perseids tend to be relatively bright as meteors go, but you’ll still see more the darker your skies are. Bring a reclining chair so that you can view high in the sky in comfort; there’s no point in filling half your field of view with trees. Don’t forget warm, mosquito-proof clothes or, better, a sleeping bag. No matter how hot the days are, it can get surprisingly chilly under a clear sky late at night, especially whan you’re inactive. And for many people, the most important accessory is bug spray for the parts of you that remain exposed!

It doesn’t really matter where in the sky you watch; meteors can appear anywhere. Just watch where it’s darkest, usually straight up. It’s probably best not to stare directly at the radiant, because meteors there leave short trails.

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