Perseid Meteor Shower This Weekend

Robert Chaplin is a frequent contributor to the News Leader.

His magnificent photographs have graced the pages of the newspaper and our website for years.

We asked him if he could tell our readers how they might best see the spectacular meteor showers this week and he sent us these images and details.

To learn more about his photographic workshops and see

his work, go to: rlchaplinphotography.com.

  The Perseid meteor shower is a product of the earth passing through the debris and remnants of the Swift-Tuttle comet, every year from mid-July and the end of August, creating one of the brighter and active meteor showers of the year. The Perseid meteor shower peaks between August 9 and August 13 and gets its name from the constellation Perseus. Perseus, in northeastern sky, is the radiant point of the meteor shower. However, the meteors can be seen anywhere in the sky. 

Meteors are caused by pieces of space debris, or in this case matter from a comet’s tail that burn up as it falls into the Earth’s atmosphere. This year it is expected to produce between 60 to 100 meteors per hour during its peak. The peak night this year will be the night of August 12 and morning of August 13.

A waning gibbous moon, rising at 11:27 pm on

August 12, will wash out the fainter meteors. 

 Start looking for meteors just after sunset and you may see an Earth grazing meteor. Earth grazers are dramatic, bright, and long-lasting meteors that seem to run parallel to the horizon. Don’t let the moon keep you from watching this celestial spectacle. After the moon has risen, position yourself so the moon is at your back and sit in an area where there is a shadow created by a group of trees or other type of structure. Sit back, relax, and keep an eye on the sky.  

 No special equipment is needed. Get a comfortable chair

or lay a blanket on the ground and look to the heavens. Meteor showers are fun to photograph, but lenses with an aperture of f/2.8 or faster will yield the best results. Slower consumer grade kit lenses can be used but they will not record the fainter meteors.