Once again, it's that time of year, when the sons of Perseus streak across the nighttime sky. Generally, this is a great meteor shower to watch, as the Perseids are one of the larger showers that have been observed continuously from 36 A.D. through the present day. This year, however, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower coincides with a supermoon. The supermoon of August 10, 2014, is not just any supermoon - it's the largest supermoon of all of 2014. It also has a number of names, such as the Sturgeon moon; the Green Corn Moon; and the Grain Moon. This supermoon will also be 14% closer and 30% brighter than all of the other full moons of 2014. And, in terms of hard numbers, the August 10 full moon will be 221,675 miles away from the Earth; and while this may seem far, this is actually the closest the moon will be to the Earth until the full moon of September 28, 2015.
Unfortunately, the arrival of the supermoon on August 10, 2014 means that this year, the Perseid Meteor Shower will be hard to see, as its peak days will be August 12-13, 2014, and during those nights, the light of the supermoon will flood the sky. If you are still interested trying to see the Perseids this year, the best time to view is anytime from August 6, 2014 to August 13, 2014 during the pre-dawn hours, after the moon has set, from 2am until dawn.
The other thing that will aid you in catching a glimpse of the Perseids is to get away from unnatural light sources. The best thing you can to do to improve your chances to see the Perseids is to get outside. Cities generate a lot of light pollution, which makes it harder to see everything in the night sky, including the Perseids. Secondly, as the supermoon is bright in 2014, and will not set until the pre-dawn hours, you will need to have lots of patience. Even if you wake up in around 2am, your eyes will need a little bit of time to adjust to the dark; so sit back; relax, and enjoy watching the universe move in inscrutable and beautiful ways. Finally, be sure to have fun! If you're heading out to watch the Perseids - or the supermoon, bring food, drinks, and plenty of blankets and pillows to stay comfortable and warm.
Interested in science? You might like this NASA app HERE; and about the dust passing through our atmosphere during the shower here. And, if your interested in the Perseids, here's ten facts about the meteor shower.