Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Next Supermoon Could Hide Best Meteor Shower of Year

Jul 30, 2014 10:35 PM EDT


The next so-called Supermoon, when a full moon occurs at its perigee - the closest point to Earth in its orbit - is due Aug. 10, which may make for a less-than-super annual Perseid meteor shower.

Debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, through which our planet passes during this general time annually, will peak around August 12 and 13, with an estimated 100 meteors hitting the atmosphere per hour, according to data from mthe National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

But the Supermoon, for all of its bright glory, could visually wash out a good number of the otherwise seeable streaking Perseids, which produced what many regard as the best meteor show of the year.

With the debris cloud often resulting in fast and bright meteors, Perseids often leave long wakes or streams of light and color behind them as they burn across the earth's sky.

The Perseids have been known to produce a prolific 50-100 streaking meteors per hour, typically during warm summer nighttime weather, which provides prime and easy viewing opportunities for sky watchers.

The Perseids are also known for their fireballs - larger than average bursts of light and color that can also last longer than an average streak times - which owe their brilliance to the fact they come from particles birthed from a comet.

Though the Perseids are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere during pre-dawn hours, it's also possible at times to view the meteors starting as early as 10:00 p.m.

To view the celestial light show, it's best to locate yourself in an area faraway from city or street lights.

Since viewing is easiest by lying flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and your eyes looking skyward, you would be well advised to take along a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair.

Then, after about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt to the much fainter lights above and you will begin to see meteors.

Perseids Fast Facts from NASA:

  • Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
  • Radiant: Constellation Perseus
  • Active: 17 July through 24 Aug. 2014
  • Peak Activity: 12-13 Aug. 2014
  • Peak Activity Meteor Count: Up to 100 meteors per hour
  • Meteor Velocity: 59 km (37 miles) per second
(Photo : Ken Bosma/Flickr)
(Photo : Ken Bosma/Flickr)
(Photo : Ken Bosma/Flickr)
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