How to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower

Each year, the Earth passes through the debris of a comet called the Swift-Tuttle. This debris burns up in our atmosphere to form what we see as meteors or shooting stars. The Perseid meteor shower is at its peak during mid-August. During a peak, at least 50–60 meteors can be observed during each hour. Considered the best and brightest meteor show of the year by many, it's a great opportunity to go outside and check out nature's own dramatic show.


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    Set your alarm clock. Go out to watch at midnight or later. The pre-dawn hours are usually the best for viewing because the side of the Earth facing the sun allows more meteors to be visible.[1]
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    Pack a blanket, compass, bug spray, and snacks. Mittens or gloves and a warm hat are also a good idea for those who feel the cold at night.
    • Bring a reclining chair if you don't fancy lying on the ground or holding your head tilted back all night.
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    Find a spot away from city lights. Planning a camping trip at this time is a great option.
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    Look towards the northeastern sky. If you are unsure of your orientation, use your compass or an app to get your bearings and determine which direction is northeast.
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    View the sky with your unaided vision. The meteors can be seen using the naked eye.
    • For closer views, use binoculars or a camera with a telescopic lens. You don't have to use these to appreciate the meteors, however, and these can limit your field of vision, causing you to miss the ongoing show if you don't know where to look.
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    Look for the constellation Perseus. The stars of Perseus form somewhat of a "Y" or "V" shape and the meteors will seem to shoot outwards from a central point in this constellation. They will be visible, however, all over the sky.
    • Perseus can be found by following the bottom left star in Cassiopeia (the W constellation) down and to the left. There is a double cluster that appears the meteor shower is coming from.
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    Bring along a tripod if you want to take photographs. The tripod is important to provide stability during long exposures and limit the camera movement when you take the photos.
    • Put the camera focus on "infinity" and use an open shutter over a period of minutes if your camera has this capability.
    • Read wikiHow's article on photographing the night sky for more information.


  • This is best seen from the Northern hemisphere owing to the way that the Earth hits the debris cloud.

Things You'll Need

  • Compass or app
  • Bug spray
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Blanket
  • Warm clothes

Sources and Citations

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