Moonlight Perseids

The Perseid meteor shower, an annual celestial event beloved by millions of skywatchers around the world, returns to the night sky this weekend. But a waning gibbous Moon will interfere with the view.

The radiant of the Perseid Meteor Shower is high in the sky by 11 p.m. for observers at mid-northern latitudes.
Tony Flanders

The Perseid shower is predicted to peak on Saturday, August 12th, around 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (4 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time or 23:00 Universal Time). The peak is broad, so it's worth looking for Perseids several days before and after the main event. North American observers will probably get their best views between 11 p.m. on Saturday, August 12th and dawn on Sunday, August 13th, when the radiant is high in the sky. Unfortunately, the nearly full Moon will also be high — make sure you don't ruin your dark adaptation by looking directly at it.

Other favorable observing times are the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, August 12th, and possibly the brief windows between dusk and moonrise on Saturday and Sunday evenings — though the radiant will be very low at those times.

If you have interesting observations of the 2006 Perseids, you can enter them as comments to this article or e-mail them to observers@SkyandTelescope.com. And feel free to submit pictures to our Photo Gallery .

Click on the links below for more information on meteors, meteor observing, and the Perseids in particular.