Every year late in the summer, the Earth passes through the orbital path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle , allowing skywatchers to see the Perseid meteor shower.
You may have already noticed a meteor or two streaking across the night sky if you’ve gone outdoors and looked up at night in the past two or three weeks.
That’s because the Perseid shower began around July 17, and the number of meteors has been picking up with each passing day. This year, the shower’s peak is expected to hit in the early morning hours before dawn on August 11, 12 and 13.
Unfortunately, this year’s peak coincides with a nearly full moon that’s also in line with Jupiter and Saturn .
The brightly shining moon will make it more difficult to spot any meteors streaking across the night sky, but that doesn’t mean 2019’s Perseids are a total wash.
Patient watchers should still be able to look to the northeast and spot some of the brighter meteors.
You’ll increase your chances if you’re willing to stay up late — the best time for watching is typically after midnight to just before dawn. Depending on where you are, the moon may set before those early hours, which means it’ll be darker and easier to spot any meteors.
“The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere,” the American Meteor Society says, noting that in rural locations, you can see 50-75 meteors per hour at maximum.
The Perseids come to an end this year on August 24.
If you’re not able to see anything early next week during this year’s peak, you may still be able to spot something as the Earth exits the orbit of the comet that brings us the Perseids each year.