Widely considered the year’s best meteor shower, the Perseids flash across the sky annually in August when the Earth passes through debris trails of shattered comets.
Set to peak Aug. 11-13, this year’s event coincides with a Supermoon, a moon that shines 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon.
Though the Supermoon reached its fullness on Sunday, Aug. 10, the lingering brightness will still disrupt visibility for the meteor shower.
The Perseids are considered the prime meteor shower of the year due to the length of the wakes of light and color that trails behind them making for a compelling show on Earth. However, this year, the moon’s expanded brightness will compete with the showers, making for less clarity of the soaring space debris.
The Supermoon was 14 percent clearer than a full moon and the brightness will persist throughout the next several days when the Perseids will be at their most visible point.
The Perseids show broken pieces of comets barreling through the sky each summer. (Photo/NASA/Michael Menefee)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said that the prime sky-watching periods will fall during night and early morning hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. Clouds pose the largest threat to visibility concerns according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Paquette.
“A dark sky free of clouds is best to seeing meteors and you want to try and be as far away as possible from light pollution,” he said.
Finding a location far from city lights and even street lights will enhance views. NASA recommends lying flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up. It will take roughly 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust and be able to catch a glimpse of the meteors.
Nearly all of the East Coast will be hampered by rain and and thunderstorms into Tuesday night. The stormy skies will make for limited visibility of this year’s astronomical phenomenon.
After the Midwest dealt with thunderstorms over the weekend which prohibited a clear view of the Supermoon, sky conditions should be clear and favorable to catch the shower Tuesday night. Those across Texas and southern central states should also be able to clearly see the astronomical event.
Storms hitting along the Arizona and New Mexico border could obstruct skies and pose a threat to those hoping to catch the meteors.
Along the West Coast, conditions will range from fair to prime. Those along the California coast will have the best view while cloudy skies will inhibit sights for those along the Oregon coast and stretching into most of Washington state.