When and Where to View the Perseids Meteor Shower
Check out our tips and suggestions for where and when to view the Perseids this weekend in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
With the weather forecast to be clear before dawn on Sunday, you may have the opportunity to witness the Perseids meteor shower (so-called because the Perseids—debris from an old comet—seem to emanate from the constellation Perseus).
Head to an open location, such as a park or open field, as far from artificial light as possible in order to see the Perseids meteor shower at its peak.
The Perseids are a meteor shower visible when the Earth passes through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits once every 133 years, according to NASA.
"Every year in early August, Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. As the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth, the air is heated to incandescence and we see a rapid streak of light," reported Starry Night Education writer Geoff Gaherty for Space.com and NBCNews.com
National Weather Service forecasts for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties predict clear skies late Saturday night into Sunday—creating the perfect window of time to view the shower.
The American Meteor Society says that, at its peak, the Perseids meteor shower could display up to 40 meteors per hour on Sunday before dawn, so it's best to check it out between midnight on Saturday and dawn on Sunday. The Perseids could appear at any place in the sky, Gaherty added.
Some of the best places to head to in the Montgomery County and Prince George’s County area might be the McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland and Northway Fields in Greenbelt.
The Astronomical Society of Greenbelt is hosting a star party on Aug. 11 at 9 p.m. at Northway Field and Observatory, which is a free event open to the public.
Liz Zubritsky, a science writer at NASA Goddard, says the best viewing spots will be away from a lot of light pollution and in an open space so that the view is not blocked by trees or buildings.