Perseids Meteor Shower on the Way – But There’s a Big Problem

Perseid meteor shower time-lapse photo.

Often bringing one of the most vivid annual meteor showers visible in Earth’s night sky, the Perseids will peak on August 12 and 13. Usually, it delivers 50-100 “shooting stars” per hour at its height, putting on an impressive show. There’s just one problem this year: the full Moon.

“Sadly, this year’s Perseids peak will see the worst possible circumstances for spotters,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, who leads the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “Most of us in North America would normally see 50 or 60 meteors per hour,” he said, “but this year, during the normal peak, the full Moon will reduce that to 10-20 per hour at best.”

Because the Moon is so much brighter than anything else in the night sky, it will wash out all but the very brightest Perseids as they streak through our atmosphere and burn up far overhead.

Perseids Meteor Shower on the Way – But There’s a Big Problem

A shower of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in 2009 in this NASA time-lapse image. Credit: NASA/JPL

As the full Moon subsides, the Perseids will begin to weaken around August 21-22 and cease completely by September 1. They’re the debris remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle, a lumbering “snowball” composed of ice, rock, and dust, which orbits our Sun every 133 years. The comet itself was last visible to us in 1992 and won’t pass our way again for over 100 years: not until 2125.

How far back sightings of the Perseids actually go remains a matter of some disagreement, Cooke said. The comet itself wasn’t identified until 1862, but the meteor shower was seen over medieval Europe. The annual event came to be known as “the Tears of St. Lawrence,” named for the last of seven Roman church deacons martyred by the emperor Valerian in August of the year 258.

So, while this is probably not the best year to make a special trip in order to see the Perseids, if you find yourself outside between midnight and dawn on August 13, don’t forget to look up anyway.  Because you never know – you might just catch one of the bright Perseid meteors that defies the glare of the Moon. Also, be aware that the occasional early Perseid can streak across the sky as much as a week beforehand.

If you want to know what else is in the sky for August 2022, check out the latest “What’s Up” video from Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

What are some skywatching highlights in August 2022? The daily parade of four naked-eye planets in the mornings comes to an end this month. But there are still lots of great highlights, especially if you have access to binoculars. Plus, Saturn and Jupiter are returning to nighttime skies! The outlook for the Perseid meteors isn’t great due to a full moon on the peak night of August 12, but still it’s worth keeping an eye out for early Perseids after midnight the week before. And August is a great month to learn an easy-to-spot constellation – Cygnus the swan.

NEWS RELATED

Drones and Artificial Intelligence to tackle the impact of extreme wind phenomena on the Valencian coast

A team from the Centre for Research on Desertification (CIDE, UV/CSIC/GVA) and the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia is launching a new service for monitoring and estimating the wind on the Valencian coast, through an innovative technology based on unmanned aerial vehicles and application of artificial ...

View more: Drones and Artificial Intelligence to tackle the impact of extreme wind phenomena on the Valencian coast

R3-IoT becomes Krucial to branch out of aquaculture

TAMPA, Fla. — Scottish startup R3-IoT rebranded as Krucial Aug. 18 amid plans to expand its connectivity solutions for remote sensors out of the aquaculture market. The venture launched a software platform called Krucial Connect to enable a wider variety of customers to tap into its gateways, which use ...

View more: R3-IoT becomes Krucial to branch out of aquaculture

’Concerning’ findings emphasise importance of depression screening

Researchers were concerned to find three quarters of women with persistent depression experienced at least one episode of PND. Image: Pexels. University of Queensland researchers are calling for screening of perinatal depression (PND) for all women during pregnancy, after finding women with persistent depression are at high risk of ...

View more: ’Concerning’ findings emphasise importance of depression screening

US communities are mapping heat islands to boost climate resilience

A sensor installed on a car records temperature, humidity, time and location for an urban heat mapping project. The phone’s home screen shows 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32C) in Silver Spring, a suburb of Washington, on a mid-August day. But the reality is more complex—in terms of heat exposure, not ...

View more: US communities are mapping heat islands to boost climate resilience

Vets tackle jumbo tusk task on Pakistan zoo elephants

Sixteen-year-old Madhu Bala underwent surgery for an infection on a broken tusk after being given a delicate standing sedation. A team of international vets armed with specially-designed dentist drills began operating Wednesday on a pair of elephants “in incredible pain” at a colonial-era zoo in Pakistan. The Austria-based Four ...

View more: Vets tackle jumbo tusk task on Pakistan zoo elephants

We exist. What can that fact teach us about the Universe?

For thousands of years, humans have pondered the meaning of our existence. From philosophers who debated whether their minds could be trusted to provide accurate interpretations of our reality to physicists who’ve attempted to interpret the weirder aspects of quantum physics and relativity, we’ve learned that some aspects of ...

View more: We exist. What can that fact teach us about the Universe?

Study confirms that speculation taxes are not an effective tool in curbing house prices

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain As the Ontario housing market enters a potentially volatile phase, new research from the University of Waterloo shows how tax policy has proven ineffective in controlling prices. The report specifically looked at market behaviour of the nine largest Ontario population centres between 2011 and 2021—a ...

View more: Study confirms that speculation taxes are not an effective tool in curbing house prices

Burying short sections of power lines would drastically reduce hurricanes' future impact on coastal residents

Climate change could make heat waves a dangerous hazard of future hurricanes. Credit: U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class R. Jason Brunson / Released As Earth warms due to climate change, people living near the coasts not only face a higher risk of major hurricanes, but are ...

View more: Burying short sections of power lines would drastically reduce hurricanes' future impact on coastal residents

Museum collections indicate bees increasingly stressed by changes in climate over the past 100 years

Series Futuristic Space Themed Centers

Sols 3562-3563: Adventures Over Sand

Search for new pharmacological chaperones to treat Fabry disease

Chinese space-tracking ship docks at Sri Lanka's Hambantota port

How scientist facilitated the development of LEO mega constellations

Russian spacewalk cut short due to issue with suit

Dust grains older than our sun found in Asteroid Ryugu samples

Virgin Orbit earns AS9100 Certification

NATO says troops in Kosovo will intervene to keep peace

Thailand's first comsat by mu Space Corp passes GISTDA tests

Voyager logs 45 years in space as NASA's longest mission to date

OTHER NEWS