Tonight's the Night for Peak Perseid Meteor Shower

One of the best shows in the solar system peaks tonight as the annual Perseid meteor shower lights up the night sky. We can thank large comet Swift-Tuttle for the little pieces of space debris that hit Earth's atmosphere and turn into the distinctive "shooting stars" of the meteor shower.


Though the Perseids have been active since 14 July, the frequency of meteors hurtling through the sky is now at its highest. However, the full moon may make it tougher to spot the meteors, so train your eyes toward the darker areas and watch closely.


In further good news for star gazers, this week is also one of the best times to see the ringed planet of Saturn in dramatic fashion. On Sunday, the giant planet will line up with the Earth and the Sun. The alignment is called an “opposition.”


Saturn will be closer to Earth than it has been in more than a year. If you want a peek at the planet, look for a golden yellow light shining steadily in the east after sunset. With binoculars, you may even see the spectacular Saturn rings. Good luck!

 

Space Rocks: Whats What - Meteor, asteroid, comet, fireball: what’s the difference? Know your meteorite from your meteoroid with OGN's simple handy guide.