Catch the Falling Stars: Perseid Meteor Shower 2013

Every year in August, the Perseid meteor shower gives us a light show like no other, as our planet travels through the debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. Peak visibility should be in the middle of the night Sunday night and Monday night -or very early Monday and Tuesday, if that's how you want to remember it. Phil Plait has tips on getting the best view of the falling stars.

1) Find a place that's dark. Some meteors are bright and easy to spot, others fainter. The darker the spot you find away from house and city lights, the better.

2) You don't really need to face Perseus (to the northeast); in fact your best bet is to have as much sky visible as possible. The more heavenly real estate you can see, the better your chances of seeing more meteors.

3) Be outside after local midnight - literally, halfway between dusk and dawn. The geometry of the shower makes it more likely to see meteors at that time. To use the car and bugs analogy again, you see more splattered arthropods on your front windshield than the rear one because you're driving forward into the swarm. After midnight, you're on the part of the Earth facing into the direction of the Earth's travel around the Sun, so you'll see more meteors then.

There's more you can read at Bad Astronomy. I recommend lying down. Take a friend who you can talk to, and relax on your back on a blanket, facing up and talk. I spent many nights when I was young doing just that and saw plenty of shooting stars even when there wasn't a meteor shower expected. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user RawheaD Rex)

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Thank you. Those are cabins near Zion National Park. It was very dark there. I thought I would be focusing on infinity by turning the ring on my lens to the extreme position but it turns out it hits infinity near the extreme, and if you keep going it gets soft again. Hence the somewhat large blobs for stars in the upper photo. Nikon D3s, 6400 ISO, 30 second exposure. Nikkor 17 - 35 2.8 at 17mm wide open
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