FREWSBURG – It’s that time of the year; a very famous meteor shower will peak this weekend across the Northern Hemisphere.
The Perseid meteor shower generally comes our way once a year and can produce a speculator show. Gary Nelson, the President of the Martz-Kohl Observatory in Frewsburg, said the meteor shower will be coming from the Perseid constellation, which is about 250 million lightyears from Earth.
A meteor shower is simply debris left over from comets that enter Earth’s atmosphere as the Earth goes through its orbit and comes down burning. Nelson said for the Perseids, Earth will be passing through debris from Halley’s Comet and the Swift-Tuttle Comet.
Nelson went on to say the human eyes are best to view this kind of meteor shower.
“If you have binoculars or a telescope, they don’t give you a wide enough view of the sky and you could miss it,” said Nelson.
Nelson also said that looking straight up into the sky is your best bet once the shower starts.
“You’ll notice which direction they’re going and you can turn yourself to that direction.”
While they are predicting 50 to 60 meteors per hour, Nelson said do not count on that many meteors streaking through the sky. He suggests people count the number of meteors they see and then report them to the observatory.
“That gives us an idea for the number of meteors we could see the next time the meteor shower happens,” explained Nelson.
The best place to be to view the meteor shower will be a dark place away from city lights. The shower is expected to peak at around 10 p.m., with the best timing at predawn.
While overall sky conditions are looking fair with breaks in the cloud cover for Western New York, one thing we have to keep en eye is the moon.
“If the moon is out, that could deter things,” said Nelson. “You might not be able to see the real faint meteors.”
The current prediction from the observatory is the moon should not be out during the weekend, which would allow a viewer to see the full shower.