The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August due to debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, is almost here.
According to NASA, the shower “often considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year” will peak during overnight hours as Aug. 12 turns into Aug. 13.
At peak last year, meteors raced at rates of about 60-70 meteors per hour. In 2016, we witnessed a whopping 150-200 meteors burst per hour. But with a full moon in the night sky on Aug. 12 this year, stargazers will only get a chance to revel in about 15-20 meteors per hour.
Don’t let that turn you off from the spectacle, though. According to NASA, “the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature’s fireworks.”
When to see the Perseid meteor shower
You’ll be able to catch the popular meteor shower as Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle (July 17 to Aug. 24), but if you want to best views, it’s all about catching it at peak time: between 2 a.m. local time through predawn hours of August 13.
Watch the Perseid meteor shower livestream
If you want to watch the spectacle from the comfort of your bed, NASA will be hosting a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, if the weather cooperates. Watch on NASA Meteor Watch Facebook starting around 8 p.m. Aug. 12 through the early hours of Aug. 13. Meteor videos recorded by the NASA All Sky Fireball Network are also available each morning.
Where to see the Perseid meteor shower in person
The Northern Hemisphere down to the mid-southern latitudes is prime real estate for this year’s show, according to Space.com.
Thanks to Active Junky, a sister site of Space.com, even city dwellers can get in on the fun, despite all the light pollution.
In Atlanta, Active Junky advises city dwellers in or nearby the bright buildings, traffic and other sources of light pollution, to travel to the following areas:
17515 Highway 177
Fargo, GA 31631
Drive time from metro Atlanta: Four hours and a half hours
This Okefenokee Swamp park was voted one of the best spots in the world for star gazing last year by the International Dark Sky Association for its vast skies and minimal light pollution.
The remote Georgia park is perfect for viewing all things celestial, including the famed Perseid meteor shower in August.
Make your reservations at one of the park’s 64 campsites.
North Georgia mountains
The beautiful mountains in northeast Georgia make for ideal campgrounds during the Perseid shower.
Some popular campgrounds near the mountains can be found at Moccasin Creek State Park and Cooper’s Creek Recreational Area.
3655 Georgia Hwy197
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Drive time from metro Atlanta: Less than two hours
Make reservations at one of Moccasin Creek’s 54 campsites.
6050 Appalachian Hwy
Suches, GA 30572
Drive time from metro Atlanta: Approximately two hours
Campgrounds are first-come, first-serve.
Dark and vast skies are essentially all you need to take in the sights of the Perseid meteor shower.
With peaks during overnight hours, you may also want to dress in warm clothes, bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on, a snack and water and some bug spray.