SAN FRANCISCO — Another spectacular celestial event is happening this week, and an astronomer is sharing how to get the best view.
The Perseid meteor shower will soar across skies, peaking late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, according to astronomer Alex Filippenko.
Saying it’s arguably the best meteor shower of the year, Filippenko has tips for catching the space show.
According to Filippenko, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, the meteor shower occurs when Earth passes near the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Little bits of rock and ice from the comet burn up as they zip through Earth’s atmosphere at roughly 130,000 mph. The debris is as tiny as grains of sand.
He recommends blocking out at least 30 minutes to an hour (the longer, the better) to get a good look. At best, you’ll see about one “shooting star” per minute.
“The Perseids are known for having many bright and fast meteors that should be visible even in a somewhat light-polluted sky, though you’ll see many more from a darker location,” he said.
You don’t even need a telescope or binoculars.
“Find somewhere comfortable, avoiding bright lights as much as possible (yes, including your phone), and give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark — up to half an hour if you can,” NASA advised.
The northeast direction should have the most meteors. NASA says, “If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, and far away from light pollution, you might spot more than 40 Perseids an hour!”
You can also join NASA to watch on social media by tuning in overnight Wednesday to Thursday (11 p.m. – 6 a.m. ET) on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. If skies are cloudy Wednesday night, NASA will try again at the same time overnight Thursday to Friday.