WASHINGTON — With the solar eclipse just over a week away and getting a lot of attention, there is another big astrological event happening in August: the Perseid meteor shower.
However, this year’s show will also be overshadowed by the moon.
“This year, unfortunately, we have a waning gibbous moon in the sky that will affect the visibility of the fainter meteors because the moon brightens the sky background,” Geoff Chester, with the Naval Observatory, told WTOP Friday.
The meteor shower usually peaks around the evening and morning of Aug. 12 and 13. During these peaks, you can usually see 60 to 120 meteors per hour.
This year, the moon will make those fainter meteors tougher to see.
“That will cut it down to 10, perhaps 20 per hour,” Chester stated.
Good news, according to the spokesman, is that next year’s show should be much more visually impressive.
“Actually next year, it occurs, I believe, around the time of new moon so we should have a much better display next summer,” Chester said.
NBC4 Meteorologist Matt Ritter said the best time to view the meteor shower in our area will be Sunday night, since the sky across the region should be clear. The places with the least light pollution are in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Maryland.
The meteor shower will also be viewable online at Slooh.com.
“They will have a camera set up somewhere where it is clear, where you can watch them,” said Chester.
But the view likely won’t be any better.
“They will be under the same circumstances we are in that the bright moon will wash out the sky,” he continued. “Nobody is going to get a terrific view of the shower this year.”
For the best view of the shower, Chester has three key factors to get the best experience:
“Open patch of sky, a place that is away from the immediate glare of streetlights and a good supply of coffee.”
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