Fleeting Wonders: There's Still Time To See The Perseids - Atlas Obscura
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Fleeting Wonders: There’s Still Time To See The Perseids

The Perseids giving it their all in 2013. (Photo: the very honest man/Flickr)

The best show of the summer is still in the sky! Due to the constant churn of Earthly media coverage, it may seem like the Perseids are so yesterday. But space stops for no news cycle, and if you’ve been sleeping on this meteor shower, you’ve got another chance to spot it before it slows to a dribble. If your 4 a.m. is free, this is a great way to use it.

The how-to is easy enough: go somewhere as far as possible from light pollution, lie on your back, let your eyes adjust to the dark, and wait. If conditions are right, you’ll soon be treated to nature’s premiere space dust spectacular. Even if you can’t get out of the city, stay away from streetlights and you still might catch a few, NASA’s Bill Cooke told Business Insider.

A Perseid one-ups the whole galaxy over the Very Large Telescope in Chile in 2010. (Photo: European Southern Observatory/WikiCommons CC BY 4.0)

The Perseids are snips from the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle, which sheds debris as it orbits the Solar System. When the Earth revolves into the comet’s trail, this dust passes through our atmosphere and crackles into a zingy light show. This year’s performance is particularly spectacular because the moon is in its darker phases, and won’t drown out the rest of the players.

Past nights have been magnificent, and tonight might be the best of all. Go ahead, set your alarm right now.

A lone Perseid streaks through Cassiopeia. (Photo: John Flannery/Flickr)

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.