Manhattanhenge who? The picture-perfect space moment you don't want to miss is the Perseid meteor shower, happening in a sky near you this week. We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know to spot and enjoy the cosmic event.
What even is the Perseid meteor shower?
The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event that occurs when Earth’s orbit travels into debris left from a comet. But despite what some online reports suggest, this year's Perseids will not be the brightest in history, though it will be a little more active than usual, according to Bill Cooke, who leads NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. The Perseids "never reach storm levels (thousands of meteors per hour)," needed for it to be considered one of the brightest in history, Cooke said. The Perseids is normally around 80 to 100 meteors per hour. This year, Cooke said enhanced rates of about 150 per hour are expected, but a bright moon will mean that fewer meteors are visible to the naked eye.
When can I see the Perseids?
The Perseid meteor shower takes place Wednesday through Sunday, and peaks Thursday through Saturday. The best time to view the Perseids is between midnight and dawn on Friday and Saturday. NASA suggests that you give yourself time for your eyes to adjust to the night sky – about 45 minutes – before the meteor shower begins. That means looking up at the night sky, and putting your cellphone away to get the best view. Grab a blanket and lie down to get the full, cosmic experience.
Where should I go in NYC?
When it comes to spots to view the Perseids in New York, a clear sky is key. Opt for large spaces, like parks and beaches, that will give you the best view of the night sky. Depending on where you live, head to places like Central Park or Inwood Hill Park, Van Cortlandt Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park or Clove Lake Park.
If you’re looking for an expert to show you the stargazing ropes, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York is hosting a stargazing event at Pier I in Riverside Park South on Saturday at 8 p.m.
With Lauren Cook