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The Biggest Meteor Shower of 2020

See the annual Perseids peak the night of August 11-12 – often the biggest meteor shower of the year.
By - posted 8/10/2020 No Comment

Get out in the open, away from city lights to see the annual Perseids Meteor Shower, the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere.

The annual Perseids meteor shower is the glittery result of Earth passing through debris left behind by a comet, so typically you should expect to see up to 60 meteors per hour as long as you are away from light pollution and the clouds stay away. In 2020 though, the bright moon may make the meteors more difficult to see. 

2020 Perseids Meteor Shower
August 11-12, 2020 | Late Evening to Dawn
Predicted Peak: The night of August 11-12
NASA’s recommendation: Make plans to stay up late the night of Aug. 11 or wake up early the morning of Aug. 12. The Perseids are best seen between about 2 a.m. your local time and dawn.

Can I only watch the peak? Nope! Although the peaks are the best times (as long as there’s no moonlight), annual meteor showers typically last weeks, not days… building up gradually and then falling off rapidly. You can definitely catch them in advance.

2020 Update from NASA – This year’s shower, however, has the unfortunate circumstance of the Moon phase—last quarter—impeding the view of the shower peak, reducing the visible meteors from over 60 per hour down to 15-20 per hour. But the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature’s fireworks.

Why is this meteor shower one of the favorites? It’s a rich meteor shower, and it’s steady. These meteors frequently leave persistent trains.

Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.

The Best Places to Watch in the Bay Area? For the best viewing, make sure you get away from city lights. 7×7 has a great write up of the best places in the Bay Area for stargazing including Strawberry Hill in Golden Gate Park, Lands End in San Francisco, Mt. Hamilton in San Jose, the Chabot Space Center in Oakland (which has free telescope stargazing events on most Fridays and Saturdays) and many others.

Read more at earthsky.org and NASA

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