In his song “Rocky Mountain High”, American singer-songwriter John Denver refers to his experience watching the Perseid meteor shower during a family camping trip in the mountains near Aspen, Colorado, with the chorus lyric, “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.” The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. This year, peak viewing times will be the super-early morning hours of Aug. 11, 12 and 13. The later (or earlier, depending on how you look at it) you stay up, the more shooting stars you’ll see. This year is set to be the largest outburst of meteors since 2009.
According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, “This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour.”
What is it?
A meteor shower is a spike in the number of meteors or “shooting stars” that streak through the night sky. The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides, a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus. While many meteors arrive between dawn and noon, they are usually not visible due to daylight. Some can also be seen before midnight, often grazing the Earth’s atmosphere to produce long bright trails and sometimes fireballs.
Where should I watch it:
If you live in a big city and think you’re going to climb on your roof-top to see this show, think again. Only around 10% of Americans are able to see the night sky in its natural state. That means city dwellers will miss out unless they go to a rural area at a higher elevation. Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights. Anybody in the Yosemite Area will have a good view. Glacier Point, in Yosemite National Park, is said to be the best place to see the show.
You can use this link to find a dark location: http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html
Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.