Meteor Shower Tonight? Why You Need To Know Precisely When The Perseids Peak Where You Live To See ‘Shooting Stars’

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What time is the meteor shower 2021? This year’s Perseid meteor shower will peak at the same global time, but exactly when you should watch if from where you are will differ.

That’s because it’s only visible in the northern hemisphere—and the peak time will be during the day for some areas. That may not sound ideal, but it won’t make much difference—you just need to look during the closest available darkness when the shower’s radiant in the constellation of Perseus will be highest in the sky. 

By far the most important reason why everyone is excited about the Perseid meteor shower in 2021 is the lack of moonlight (because it’s happening close to New Moon) in the sky, which tends to lessen the number of visible ‘shooting stars’ you’ll see. The Moon will be a thin crescent setting early in the evening, so moonlight will not interfere’

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When to see the Perseid meteor shower peak in the US, Canada and South America

This year the Perseids will peak during daylight hours on Thursday, August 12, 2021. 

The closest darkness to that peak—and therefore the best time to observe the Perseid meteor shower in 2021—will therefore be the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, August 12, 2021. Start looking about midnight, preferably from somewhere with little light pollution.  

According to Sky & Telescope the peak may even extend into the next night, so consider looking for Perseids during the early hours of Friday, August 13, too.

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When to see the Perseid meteor shower peak in the UK and Europe

For the UK and Europe the Perseids will peak during the early evening of Thursday, August 12, 2021.

The best time to observe the Perseid meteor shower in 2021 from UK and Europe will therefore be the pre-dawn hours of Friday, August 13, 2021. Start looking about midnight. 

When to see the Perseid meteor shower peak in Asia

For Asia the Perseids will peak during the night on Thursday, August 12 through Friday, August 13, 2021.

The best time to observe the Perseid meteor shower in 2021 from Asia will therefore be the pre-dawn hours of Friday, August 13, 2021. Start looking about midnight. 

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What is the Perseid meteor shower?

Running each year between July 17 and August 26, it’s a meteor shower resulting from Earth’s orbital path crashing through a bunch of debris left in the inner Solar System by Comet Swift-Tuttle. It was last in the Solar System in 1992. 

“Shooting stars” occur when small particles of dust enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed (around 60 km per second) and heat up—due to friction with the air—and get destroyed in under a second.

Happening about 50 miles/80 kilometers up, the superheated air around the meteor glows briefly, and is visible from the ground as a streak of light. 

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If you’re under a very dark sky expect about 50 “shooting stars” each hour—and the occasional lingering “fireball”—though a lot less if you’re in a city. 

The secret to successfully seeing “shooting stars?” Well, that’s easy … patience—and lots of it—and an ability to completely ignore the night vision-killing white light from smartphones. 

Best observed with the naked eye from a reclining chair or while camping, if it’s predicted to be cloudy during the peak night, look the night before of after—you’ll probably still catch plenty of Perseids. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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