If you love astronomy and space as much as Meteorologist Maria LaRosa and Meteorological Content Producer Kathryn Prociv, then listen up! The annual Perseid meteor shower is happening TONIGHT and it’s going to be more spectacular than ever! Here are the details Maria and Kathryn want you to know about why this year’s meteor shower is more predominant than usual, how to capture these meteors on camera, and how your area’s weather will impact your view.
Why It’s More Predominant This Year
There are a couple of factors that are going to influence how incredible this Perseid meteor shower will be. First, Jupiter’s current gravitational pull has placed Earth 930,000 miles closer to the dust trail, where the meteors are. This automatically gives us a better chance of seeing the 200 meteors that will fly every hour of the night. Maria and Kathryn report that the best time to look for them will be between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM. Another reason the meteors will be seen more clearly is because the moon will set at 1:00 AM. With the absence of this extra light, the sky will be extremely dark and therefore highlight the meteors better than ever before.
How to Capture the Best Photos
If you’re into photographing weather, this may be a great opportunity for you to try your hand at meteor photography. Unfortunately, iPhone cameras are not the most efficient at taking these types of pictures, so Maria and Kathryn recommend using a Nikon or Canon camera. Make sure you adjust your settings so there’s a high ISO and a small aperture. Also, set your exposure to 20-30 seconds long so you have a higher chance of getting that marvelous capture. Set up your camera on a tripod and point it NE to get the best results.
Geography and Weather’s Impact
Depending on where you are in the country, your chances of seeing the meteor shower vary drastically. The west coast will have a wonderful view of the shower, so if that’s where you are, go outside and try to spot some meteors! There’s low pressure moving into the Texas area, so the views may be questionable depending where you are in that region. Places that have storms heading their way might have a poor chance of seeing the shower because overcast and stormy skies are often hard to see through. However, Maria says that if your area is cloudy or mostly cloudy, your likelihood of seeing meteors is still high! The northeastern region may get lucky enough to see the shower and aurora borealis at the same time, so if you live up in the far NE, definitely make time to go outside tonight! If you’re going to travel somewhere to see this beautiful astronomical phenomenon, go to a destination where there isn’t a lot of light pollution and the humidity is low.
Get outside tonight, Thursday August 11th, between 12:00 AM and 4:00 AM for the chance to see some amazing meteors from the Perseid meteor shower. If you have captured a picture of a meteor before or capture one from the shower tonight, please share your pictures and stories with us in the Meteor discussion in the Continuing the Conversation forum!