How to see August’s Perseids meteor shower in St. Louis and southwest IL
Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.
You can get lucky and see “shooting stars” any night, but NASA said the August meteor shower known as Perseids typically brings “one of the most vivid annual meteor showers visible in Earth’s night sky.”
The shower will peak Aug. 12 and 13, but astronomers expect the full moon to reduce meteor visibility. A typical year’s Perseid shower will see 50 to 60 meteors fall per hour in peak times, but stargazers will likely see closer to 10 or 20 an hour at best this year, according to NASA.
The Perseids shower got its name from its “radiant” (the place the meteors appear to come from), the constellation Perseus, according to NASA. The meteors in this shower are known for their fireballs.
“Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak,” NASA said.
The best time to see the meteors in the Northern Hemisphere is the pre-dawn hours, but you might get lucky and see some as early as 10 p.m. or 11 p.m Friday and Saturday.
If you’re hoping to catch the meteor shower after dark, look for a stargazing spot with as little light pollution as possible.
The St. Louis Astronomical Society will hold a stargazing event from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Babler State Park in Wildwood, Mo. Telescopes will be available to enjoy views of Saturn, the moon, galaxies and, of course, the meteor shower after dark.
Stargazers attending the event are encouraged to bring chairs, binoculars, blankets, bug repellent, warm clothes and shoes and red flashlights.
Meredith Howard is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.