This week on Discover Nature, keep an eye to the sky in the predawn hours, as the Perseid meteor shower peaks.
Each year, from mid-July to late-August as Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, debris from the comet falls into our atmosphere at some 130,000 miles per hour.
These so-called “shooting stars” will radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but you won’t need to know how to find the constellation to see the meteors – they’ll appear in all parts of the sky.
Astronomers predict peak activity this year on Thursday night into Friday morning – with a potential outburst of 200 meteors per hour – roughly twice the normal rate. The Perseids will be especially active all week, though, so don’t worry if you miss the peak.
On a clear night, after the moon has set, find a spot to sit outside away from city lights, and watch the night sky come alive.
Missouri’s conservation areas open at 4 a.m., which allows plenty of time for predawn meteor viewing. Find a conservation area near you, at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online atlas.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.