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2021 Perseids: The Best Meteor Shower of the Year (Peak: August 11-13)

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 40 meteors per hour as long as you are away from light pollution and the clouds stay away.

2021 is a great year for Perseids with the moon setting in the early evening providing for dark skies 

2021 Perseids Meteor Shower
August 11-13, 2021 | Late Evening to Dawn
Predicted Peak: The night of August 11-12 (also night of Aug 12-13)
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 3:30-4:30am your local time and dawn.

Why 2021 is Your Last Good Chance for a While
This might be your best chance to do some summer skywatching for a few years. According to NASA, the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13 will both be great opportunity to see the Perseids. But in 2022 there will be a full Moon (and lower meteor activity) during the Perseids’ peak. In 2023 there will be a waning crescent high in the sky during the peak making it more difficult to see meteors

NASA’s 2021 Bay Area  predication

  • Very Dark “Country” Skies – expect to see 40-ish meteors an hour during the peak
  • Dark (“Suburb”) Skies – expect to see a meteor every 6-7 minutes during the peak (About 8 an hour)
  • City Skies w/ lots of light pollution – if you’re right in the city you might only see 2 meteors per hour during the peak

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.

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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