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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

11:15 AM | Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Paul Dorian


The summer’s most exciting display of meteor showers – the Perseids – has already begun as Earth has entered the stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, but it will reach its peak this weekend later Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The moon will rise around 1am and cause some distraction, but, all in all, this is a pretty good year for viewing the meteors as far as the moon is concerned as it will be in a waning crescent phase. The biggest factor for successful viewing conditions is always the cloud cover and there is some hope there although it’ll be a close call. Specifically, while the time between tonight and mid-day Saturday appears to be potentially very active in the Mid-Atlantic possibly even including heavy rain and severe thunderstorms, skies should partially clear on Saturday night giving us some hope for decent viewing conditions. If skies permit, there could be up to one meteor each minute streaking across the sky. The Perseids get their name from Perseus, the constellation from which they seem to emanate, but they can appear anywhere in the sky although a focus on the northeastern sky is probably best in the direction of the Perseus constellation (inverted “Y” shape). One final note - the moon, Venus and Jupiter are lining up this weekend in the eastern sky - right in the middle of the Perseid meteor shower.