The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August due to debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, is almost here.
According to experts at Space.com, the shower will peak during overnight hours as Aug. 11 turns into Aug. 12 and again overnight Aug. 12-13. While both shows will be magical, the latter may be just a little better, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com.
At peak, meteors will race at rates of about 60-70 meteors per hour, up from last year’s rate (40 to 50 per hour), but not as glamorous as it was in 2016, when 150-200 meteors bursted per hour.
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“This year the moon will be near new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets underway after midnight,” Cooke said. “The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and that'll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it.”
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. And according to Astronomy magazine and NASA’s Bill Cooke: the predawn hours of August 13 will be ideal.
Where to see the Perseid meteor shower
The Northern Hemisphere down to the mid-southern latitudes is prime real estate for this year’s show, Space.com reported.
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.
Here are the best star-gazing locations to catch the Perseid meteor shower in or near the nation’s other biggest cities, according to Active Junky:
Indiana Dunes State Park
Silver Springs State Park
Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan
Brazo Bend State Park
Sam Houston National Forest
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Los Angeles, California
Angeles National Forest
Santa Monica Mountains
Topanga State Park
Malibu Creek State Park
Everglades National Park
Lorida, Florida (Kissimmee River public area)
New York, New York
Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn
Carl Schurz Park in the Upper East Side
Jamaica Bay on Ruffle Bar Island
Cedar Point County Park on Long Island
North-South Lake Campground
French Creek State Park
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Cherry Spring State Park
Sproul State Forest
Tres Rios Wetlands
Sun Valley Parkway
Dash Point State Park
Salt Water State Park
Kayak Point Park
Mary E. Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Greenbelt National Park
Burke Lake Park
Sky Meadow State Park
How to see the Perseid meteor shower
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.
If you want to watch the spectacle from the comfort of your bed, NASA also typically launches a UStream via their NASA TV channel.