Perseid Meteor Shower 2023 Peaks on August 11-13: Best Time to See Shooting Stars
If you don’t want to miss one of the most well-known astronomical events, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we’ll give you some tips on how the Perseids can be seen and the best dates to look at the spectacular event. Let’s begin!
- Why Do We See the Perseid Meteor Shower Every Year?
- Perseid Meteor shower – Where to Look?
- When to watch the Perseids? Viewing dates for 2023 and 2024
- Watching Meteors Like a Pro: Crucial Dos & Don'ts
- Perseids 2023: A Brief Recap
Why Do We See the Perseid Meteor Shower Every Year?
Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through a trail of debris left by a comet. Each meteor shower has a parent body; for the Perseids, it is the large periodic comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. Although it approaches our planet only once every 133 years, we observe the Perseids annually because the Earth crosses the comet’s trail every year.
Perseid Meteor shower – Where to Look?
When a meteor shower is active, the “shooting stars” appear to stream out of a certain location in the sky, which is called the radiant. The radiant point for the Perseid meteor shower is in the constellation Perseus. You can find it in the sky with the help of Star Walk 2 and Sky Tonight stargazing apps. They both have easy-to-use search systems, which allow you to enter the meteor shower’s name and see the current position of the radiant in the sky above you. Watch our video tutorials on Star Walk 2 and Sky Tonight and learn more about their useful features.
When to watch the Perseids? Viewing dates for 2023 and 2024
The Perseids occur every year between mid-July and late August. In 2023, the Perseid meteor shower is active from July 14 to August 24. You can observe it on any day within that time frame. The maximum number of meteors will be seen on August 13, when the shower will reach its peak. In 2024, the Perseids will be visible from July 17 to August 24; the maximum activity is expected on August 12.
Perseids 2023 Forecast: Peak Hours
According to the International Meteor Organization, the Perseids will produce the highest number of meteors on August 13, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. GMT (from 3:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT). Also, on August 16, a New Moon occurs, so the week around this date will be perfect for observations because the meteors are best visible in the dark moonless sky. At its peak, the shower produces about 100 meteors per hour and is considered to be one of the most prolific meteor streams.
IMO also recommends paying attention to the Perseids on August 14, from 1:00 a.m. to 2:45 a.m. GMT (August 13, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. EDT). During this period, the Earth will encounter a very old dust trail released by the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle in 68 BC. This might affect the shower’s activity, though it’s hard to make any predictions.
Astronomical apps won’t let you miss the best time to see the Perseids. For example, Sky Tonight has a special calendar, which shows the activity period and peak for every meteor shower (you can learn how to use the calendar and set reminders in our video). Star Walk 2 has a list of meteor showers sorted by month, and can also remind you of the upcoming celestial events. Watch our video tutorial on how to plan your meteor-hunting night with Star Walk 2.
Watching Meteors Like a Pro: Crucial Dos & Don'ts
We’ve gathered some tips to help you catch the best view of the meteors. With the proper preparation, the Perseids 2023 will bring you an unforgettable stargazing experience. Also, use our infographic on meteor showers as a quick reference: there, you’ll find these tips in the form of colorful illustrations.
Meteor Gazing Essentials
- Start looking for meteors when the sky goes dark before the Moon rises. Considering the Moon’s position in the skies, the best time for meteor observation will be several days after the peak.
- Find out the radiant’s position in the skies; the higher it climbs, the more meteors you’ll likely see. The radiant is easy to find with the help of Star Walk 2 and Sky Tonight apps.
- Find an open place with a dark sky, away from the city lights: there are ten times fewer meteors visible in the city. An even better option would be to go up in the mountains, where haze and clouds are below the observer.
- Give this breathtaking event at least an hour of your time to see as many meteors as possible.
- Bring a deck chair or a camp cot to lie on. You can also use a mat, but your head needs to be raised so that the blood doesn’t rush there. Otherwise, you’ll start to feel sleepy very soon.
Meteor Viewing Pitfalls to Avoid
- Don’t look directly at the radiant, as there will be mostly short meteors.
- Don’t look low above the horizon either — there might be haze or clouds.
- Don’t make a fire or turn on bright flashlights. The bright light won’t allow your eyes to adapt to the darkness, so you won’t be able to see a significant part of the meteors. Better bring a flashlight with a red light instead — this light is more comfortable at night.
- Don’t gaze up for 1 hour straight. Make 5-10 minutes breaks. This way, you’ll be able to stay focused and give your eyes a rest.
Interested in meteor hunting? Dive into our Meteor Hunting Quiz! This isn't just a test; it's a guide to understanding how well-prepared you are. When you're done, you'll have helpful tips to increase your chances of spotting more shooting stars in the sky.
Perseids 2023: A Brief Recap
The Perseids are one of the strongest meteor showers of the year, as their maximum activity is about 100 meteors per hour. In 2023, they will be active from July 14 to August 24. The peak is expected on August 13, three days before the New Moon, so the sky will be dark, and the moonlight won’t obstruct the view.