Every year, people look forward to the Perseid meteor shower. But, this year, the full moon is destined to interfere with the peak of the shower, which comes on August 12 or 13. That fact makes the next several days – in the hours before dawn – a good time in 2011 to watch summertime meteors from Earth’s northern hemisphere. Watch in a dark sky just before dawn begins.
There are a few reasons why the wee hours before dawn will be so good for meteors in late July. First, the Perseid shower is rising to its peak now. You won’t see as many meteors as on a moonless night during the actual peak, but – with the moon gone from the sky in the morning hours right now – we have a ‘window’ for meteor-watching.
Second, there’s another meteor shower going on around now, too. The Delta Aquarid shower – whose radiant point is shown on today’s sky chart – doesn’t have as definite a peak as the Perseids. But this shower is now producing a steady supply of meteors, which you can see in dark skies.
July 2011 guide to the five visible planets
The third reason we ...