GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The nighttime sky for stargazers is like Christmas in August. The Perseid meteor shower is an annual celestial delight that visits us every August and this year it has a chance of being better than average.
Most years when the Earth enters the path of comet Swift-Tuttle it grazes the outside of the debris field. As a result you are typically able to see 50 to 80 shooting stars per hour.
But this year it appears Earth will plunge into the center of the debris field which could potentially produce upwards of 100 to possibly 200 shooting stars per hour.
The Perseid’s can be viewed now through Aug. 24 but its peak will arrive Thursday night on Aug. 11. You’ll want to wait until the waxing moon sets at 12:35 a.m. Friday.
The Perseid’s enter the Earth’s atmosphere at an incredible 37 miles per second which makes them very bright and visible. Between the shooting stars you can view the planets Saturn and Mars. So grab a reclining chair, travel away from the city lights and focus your eyes high above the horizon.
In terms of the weather we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed. It will be a warm night, but thunderstorms may form in Wisconsin later Thursday that could spread clouds overhead Thursday night. Stay tuned to future forecasts from Storm Team 8.
For those with cloudy or light-polluted skies, a live broadcast of the Perseid meteor shower will be available online overnight on Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13 beginning at 10 p.m.