Good news everyone! It's time to train our eyes upward and see if we can see the sons of Perseus streaking across the nighttime sky. That's right - I am talking about watching the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, which is occurring this weekend - August 11-12, 2013. According to the experts, the Perseid Meteor Shower is going to be one of the best - if not the best - meteor showers of 2013 as there will be no Moon in the nighttime sky this weekend. The Perseids are always a great meteor shower to watch, as they are one of the larger showers that have been observed from 36 A.D. onward, and the origin of the meteors is the Swift-Tuttle comet. Since there will be no Moon during the Perseids this year, many astronomers have estimated that during the peak time - from 10:00 p.m. on August 11, 2013 to 4:30 a.m. on August 12, 2013, skywatchers can expect to see 80-100 meteors scorch the sky per hour. If that isn't enough to get you outside to take a look, I don't know what is! (More information on observing the Perseids here, here, and here; and if you're interested in photographing the Perseids, click here).
As always, you can rest assured that I will be outside watching the Perseids, because I love meteor showers. If you're interested in seeing a meteor shower for the first time, let me provide you with three handy tips: 1) Get outside. Cities provide a lot of light pollution, which makes it harder to see everything in the night sky, including the Perseids. 2) Be patient. While this might not be as important for a busy shower like the Perseids, it is applicable. Allow your eyes time to adjust to the dark; sit back; relax, and enjoy watching the universe move in inscrutable and beautiful ways. 3) Have fun! Bring food, drinks, and plenty of blankets and pillows to stay comfortable and warm.