This Weekend: Perseids Meteor Shower One of the Best

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With up to 60 meteors per hour, the Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the best of the year. And because it happens in the middle of summer without broad-scale, cloud-heavy weather patterns, most of us ought to have a nearly unrestricted view.

You don't have to wait for the peak viewing time of about 2-3 AM on Monday across the U.S.A. Anytime this weekend after dark will be enjoyable. Image: SkyMap

Compared to other well-known meteor showers, the Perseids surpasses the Quadrantids (20 meteors per hour), the Lyrids (20 mph), the Southern Delta Aquarids (20 mph), the Leonids (40 mph) and the Orionids (20 mph). Only the Geminids Meteor Shower can be considered an equal, also with about 60 meteors per hour.

Perseids from the International Space Station. Click to enlarge for best view. Photo: NASA Astronaut Ron Garan

Think you’ve already seen a Perseids meteor over the past few days? It’s quite possible. In fact, what’s usually advertised is the “peak” of shower activity while the shower itself typically is visible for a couple of weeks or more. The Perseids, for example, have a viewing window of almost a month, from July 23 through August 20. Though the peak of the Perseids is this coming Monday, this weekend should be prime viewing, so grab the kids and a blanket and head to the edge of town to find the darkest evening or overnight sky (free up your evening by making it an afternoon matinee for the latest Bourne or Batman movie). By the way, the Perseids Meteor Shower is free — no matter how many times you watch.

Sunday's midday forecast. Most of the U.S. should enjoy optimal Perseids viewing conditions after dark tonight, Saturday and Sunday. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

YourWeatherBlog has posted about meteor showers before. Click the links to read a few of them: the Eta Aquarids, the Quadrantids and the Taurids and the Leonids.


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