Home Consciousness Get Ready For the Spectacular Perseids 2023: Last-Minute Guide to the Year’s Best Meteor Shower

Get Ready For the Spectacular Perseids 2023: Last-Minute Guide to the Year’s Best Meteor Shower

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by Conscious Reminder

The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular and prolific of the year in the northern hemisphere, reaches its peak this weekend.

It’ll be here soon! If you haven’t made plans yet and aren’t sure what to do, where to look, or when to see “shooting stars,” here’s a last-minute guide to the Perseid meteor shower’s peak in 2023:

When does the Perseid Meteor Shower occur?

This year, it takes place over the weekend of August 12 and 13, 2023. The best advice is to look during all hours of darkness, no matter where you are, though the hours after midnight have a slightly higher chance of seeing the most “shooting stars” per hour.

Why is the Perseid Meteor Shower being hyped this year?

Unlike in 2022, there will be no bright moon shining during the peak nights, resulting in naturally dark skies and ideal conditions—if you live somewhere with clear skies. In fact, a very thin waning crescent moon will rise a couple hours before sunrise, but it will be too dim to notice. This month’s New Moon is on August 16.

“Conditions this year couldn’t be more perfect,” says Sky & Telescope’s Observing Editor Diana Hannikainen. “On August 13, the waning crescent Moon, which is only 8% illuminated, rises in the early morning hours and will not interfere with viewing.” Clouds and light pollution are the main things that could detract from the spectacle, she says.

When Is the Best Time to See ‘Shooting Stars’?

The actual peak night is scheduled for August 12-13, 2023, with a sharp increase in activity expected at 04:00 Universal Time on Sunday, August 13.

  • Saturday, August 12 at 9 p.m. MST/PDT;
  • Saturday, August 12 at 10 p.m. MDT;
  • Saturday, August 12 at 11 p.m. CDT;
  • Sunday, August 13 at 12:00 a.m. EDT.

More important than the precise peak times is darkness, with the hours between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. being the darkest—regardless of location. When Perseus ascends high into the darkest sky, which occurs after midnight, the rate of “shooting stars” is also likely to increase.

If you’re only going to be outside for a few hours, set your alarm for 2 a.m. on Sunday, August 13. However, it’s also a good idea to look straight after sunset, when “Earthgrazers”—meteors with long trains that appear to skim along the top of the atmosphere—can be seen.

The two nights before and after the peak night are also worth keeping free in case of cloud cover on the peak night. Expect half as many meteors.

Where to See ‘Shooting Stars’

Although the bright “shooting stars” appear to come from the constellation Perseus in the northern night sky as seen from the northern hemisphere, they can appear anywhere in the night sky.

According to the Society for Popular Astronomy, because Perseids trails are relatively short, it’s best to look about 30-40o away from the radiant point.

Best Places to See the Perseid Meteor Shower

At the very least, keep any bright lights out of your eyes—this includes your smartphone screen. Ideally, you want to avoid light pollution and find a place with no artificial light, such as an International Dark Sky Place, Dark-Sky Preserves (Canada), or Starlight Reserves (Spain). However, anywhere in the countryside is fine.

A last-minute camping trip is a good idea, but book ahead of time if possible—you won’t be the only one looking for “shooting stars” this weekend.

Best Ways to See ‘Shooting Stars’

Put down that telescope. Don’t even think about touching those binoculars. This is an event that can only be seen with the naked eye. Find a safe, empty area with a big sky view, such as a field, meadow, golf course, or campsite, and relax on a blanket, in a lawn chair, or in an outdoor hot tub. And never take your gaze away from the sky.

I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.

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