An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Look To The Sky Tonight For The Perseid Meteor Shower

Flickr Creative Commons/Trevor Bexon

It's a good time to enjoy the night sky. The annual Perseid meteor shower is ready to make an appearance. It looks to be one of the best shows in years.

The Perseids are named because they generally appear to come from the constellation Perseus. They are remnants of Comet Swift Tuttle, which orbits the earth every 133 years. They are very small, usually around a half inch in diameter, and burn up in the atmosphere at altitudes above 50 miles high.

The show has the potential to be the best of all meteor showers every year, but often it depends on the moon. The moon can make the sky so bright it makes it difficult to see many meteors, but this week the moon is just a small sliver that sets soon after sundown.

The shower intensifies after midnight, and it's possible to see 40 meteors per hour. Most will come from the northeast part of the sky. One good way to watch is laying back in a reclining lawn chair or cot.

The event peaks Wednesday night through Friday night, but Perseids will still be visible for another week, so even if the sky is hazy from clouds or wildfire smoke, you will have several opportunities to see the show.

The darker sky you observe from, the better, so it's best to try to observe far from city lights.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.