Stargazers, watch the Perseid Meteor Shower & shooting stars tonight!

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Stargazing with a tablet (credit: Fairy Devices Inc. )

Stargazing with a tablet (credit: Fairy Devices Inc. )

Florida News: Stargazing tips for the Perseid Meteor Shower weekend

If you love space, astronomy and the stars, set tonight aside. This year started with the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, and tonight is the best viewing time for the annual Perseid meteor shower. This annual astronomy event is spectacular as you can see close to 100 meteors per hour if the conditions are right. From vapour trails to flashes of light that stream through the sky, it’s an unforgettable experience. So if you can handle predawn hours, it’s time to get to a dark night sky and drink enough coffee to stay up late!

Shooting Stars

Each August, the Perseid meteor shower is an anticipated event. It’s a time when the Earth passes through comet remains of Swift-Tuttle and the meteor shower (named for the constellation Perseus) flashes across our sky.

Viewing tips

Please note that to see a multitude of shooting stars streaming through the sky, the conditions have to be ideal. The following are all important elements to see the shooting stars:

  • best time to view is late Saturday into early Sunday
  • a clear sky
  • a dark sky (away from city light or any bright overhead light)

The more light pollution, the less meteors

It’s difficult to avoid lights these days and be in a completely dark sky. The further you can get away from bright city lights, the more shooting stars you’ll see. Remember to lie flat on your back to give your eyes the chance to take in as much of the horizon as possible (it may take about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust). To find a safe location for viewing – the South Florida Amateur Astronomy Association (SFAAA) has a Google Earth Overlay of observation spots such as the Fox Observatory in Markham Park.

If you want to know how dark your sky is, see how many stars you can see in the Little Dipper – if all four stars are bright, chances are you’ll see more meteors. Even if the conditions aren’t ideal, you’ll still see a few dozen meteors, which is spectacular enough.

Tell us…

What’s your favorite astronomy event of the year?