SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Look up! You might see some shooting stars in the sky tonight.
The Perseid meteor shower, which lasts from July 17 to August 26, peaks tonight, August 12 into August 13.
When can I view the Perseid meteor shower?
According to NASA, the Perseids are best seen between 2:00 a.m. and dawn, however they can be viewed anytime after dark (9:00 p.m.) The 22News Storm Team is predicting increasing clouds tonight, so it may be better to go outside earlier.
UMass Amherst Research Professor Rob Gutermuth told 22News during the peak tonight, you could see about one shooting star per minute.
If you can’t make it outside, you can still watch the meteor shower from the comfort of your couch or bed. The NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page will have a livestream starting at 9:00 p.m.
How do I view the Perseid meteor shower?
You won’t need any special equipment to catch some of the meteor shower, just your eyes! NASA recommends the following best practices:
- Pick a spot away from bright lights
- Let your eyes adjust to the dark (30 minutes)
- Stay off your phone/tablet as bright lights can affect your night vision
How do I take good photos of the meteor shower?
If you’re using a DSLR camera, NASA recommends:
- Choosing a spot away from bright lights
- Using a tripod or propping your camera against something & using a self timer or remote timer to avoid camera shake
- Using a wide angle lens to capture more of the sky
- Taking long exposures
You’ll want to keep your ISO as low as possible, otherwise your photos will appear grainy. Instead, adjust your shutter speed and aperture for the best exposure.
If you’re using your phone, you can download an app that allows you to manually control the exposure, shutter speed, and ISO for best results. A phone tripod or propping your phone up against something will be best since any type of camera shake can ruin a low light photo very easily.
We want to see your meteor shower photos! Send them in to ReportIt@wwlp.com
What is the Perseid meteor shower?
Professor Gutermuth explains:
“The Perseid meteor shower is from the residual debris from the Swift Tuttle comet that’s orbiting our sun, so it leaves behind a debris field and our orbit on Earth passes through this every year.
“As we pass through it, we’re moving pretty quickly and effectively the rock hits the atmosphere at a pretty high speed and burns up and creates that beautiful flash that’s a shooting star.”