Tonight, you should really keep your head up: the annual Perseid Meteor Shower is set to light up the summer sky.
According to NASA, the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks late Wednesday night through early Thursday, and the best time to gaze into the sky is around 1 a.m. The sky should remain lit through Friday.
This year, the recurring August meteor shower is happening one day before the new moon, so NASA says there will be no moonlight to upstage the shower. Light reflecting off the moon can be detrimental to good meteor viewing, NASA says, so this lack of moonlight is definitely a plus for gazers.
NBC 7 meteorologist Jodi Kodesh echoes this and says conditions for viewing the meteor shower Wednesday night will be unusually favorable, since Perseids typically coincides with the new moon.
“This hasn’t happened since 2007. A dark sky will set the backdrop,” said Kodesh.
NASA says that at its peak, Perseids could bring up to 100 fast, bright meteors per hour traveling at speeds of up to 37 miles per second. It’s one of the easiest and most active showers to observe.
NASA has a few tips to help you enjoy the celestial show of shooting stars:
- First, find a location with a clear view of the sky far away from light pollution of the city.
- Then, find the darkest patch of sky to zone in on.
- Relax your eyes.
- Be patient and watch for at least a half-hour.
- Put away the telescope or binoculars. NASA says your eyes are the best tool to catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
- Avoid looking at your cellphone of any other light, as this can destroy night vision.
If you can’t catch the sky show first-hand, NASA TV will host live coverage of the Perseids Meteor Shower online from 7 p.m. PT to 11 p.m. PT.
In San Diego, Kodesh says coastal areas will be partly cloudy. Inland areas, mountains and deserts will be mostly clear, so viewing will be better in those areas. Temperatures during the prime viewing time will be mild in the mid to upper-60s.
“You may find it interesting, that these meteors are made up of ice and dust. They are only about the size of a grain of sand, or at best, the size of a ‘Nerds’ candy,” said Kodesh. “They are simply traveling so fast, that they glow brightly.”