AUSTIN (KXAN) — Very little moonlight will keep skies dark this weekend, helping spectators to view the Perseid meteor shower, which is usually one of the brightest shows in the night sky each year. This year’s peak is expected to be on the nights of Aug. 11-13.
Watchers should see about 60-70 meteors per hour. Outbursts are occasionally possible, too, where the rate of meteors could increase to 150-200 per hour. The last outburst year was 2016.
The moon will be a new moon on Saturday, Aug. 11, and a small crescent on the following nights. The low moonlight will make it easier to see the shower. If you’re heading out to watch, you will want to head away from city lights. Mars and Saturn will likely be visible, too.
Comet Swift-Tuttle’s debris creates the Perseid shower each year. The comet is the largest object known to continually pass by the Earth, but it doesn’t do so very often. The last time it swept us by was in 1992, and the next time will be 2126. The trail of dust it leaves behind is what Earth passes through in July-August every year, creating the meteor shower.
Clouds and rain could impede some local viewing, but this weekend won’t be a washout. If you’re going out to enjoy some sky gazing, make sure you take your KXAN Weather App with you, to alert you to any lightning in your area.