Have you ever seen a shooting star? What about 100?
The Perseid meteor shower — aka the Perseids — is predicted to take place throughout August (it kicked off in July). The shower happens when Earth passes through the trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, offering spectators across the globe the opportunity to see ~100 meteors per hour when the shower is at its peak.
Ready to go meteor hunting? Check out our guide below.
When to view
The best time to watch the meteor shower is late at night or in the predawn hours during its peak, which occurs tonight, Aug. 11 through Sat., Aug. 13. These days will provide the opportunity to see the brightest + most frequent meteors.
However, because of the full Sturgeon moon tonight, the showers are expected to be washed out. If you’re eager to view tonight, the sky will be darkest right before dawn, though the Astronomy Club of Asheville recommends Sat., Aug. 13 from 2 a.m. until dawn for the right combination of peak meteors + dimmed moonlight.
Pro tip: You don’t need binoculars or a telescope to view the Perseids. If you have trouble finding the shower, make sure you are looking at the darkest part of the sky and allow your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness.
Where to go
When choosing a spot to watch the Perseids, aim for a location that is away from man-made light. Here are some spots that we suggest:
Craggy Gardens | 364 Blue Ridge Parkway
Graveyard Fields | Milepost 418.8, Canton, NC
Hominy Valley Overlook | Milepost 404.2, Candler, NC
Bonus: If you’re up for a drive, the area surrounding Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Gloucester Township is a dark sky place. Make a romantic night of it with a stay for two at a Vrbo nearby — this farmhouse + this campsite are available Sat., Aug. 13.