Annual Perseid meteor shower to peak August 12th
Ready to catch a few shooting stars? Take a good look up in the night sky over Beaufort starting next week and you just might be in for a treat with the arrival of the annual Perseid meteor shower over a several day period. According to astronomers, the 2016 Perseids could feature an “outburst,” in which meteors could streak across the sky at twice the usual rates.
Although the 2016 Perseids are active from July 13th through August 26th, maximum activity is predicted to occur on the morning of August 12th with the meteor shower expected to reach its peak early on the 12th when as many as 200 meteors per hour will be visible streaking across the sky. Usual rates for the annual show are in excess of 1 per minute when seen from dark sky sites.
The Perseid meteor shower is the result of space debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet striking the Earth’s atmosphere and is always one of the brighter meteor showers of the year.
For the best viewing, NASA recommends looking toward the northeastern part of the sky.
The best time to view the Perseids, or most other meteor showers is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn
Beaufort, as well as the majority of the Lowcountry are lucky enough to have less ground light to light up the sky and make it more difficult to see anything going on in the milky way above. With less light from the ground, we are lucky to be able to see a shooting star nearly every clear night if we look long enough.
If the skies are clear over Beaufort and the sea islands for the next week or so, we’re in for a treat.
Check out Viewing the 2016 Perseids by the American Meteor Society for more information and viewing advice.