This year’s Perseid meteor shower may have a rare outburst on the night of Thursday, Aug. 11 into the 12th, with lots of easy-to-spot activity as the earth plows through a denser than usual part of the stream, creating as many as 200 shooting stars an hour. So even if you’re not patient enough to wait for the normal every-minute-or-so show, you’ll have an extra chance for some spectacular action at this peak time.
Deserts, mountain tops, campsites, national parks, cruise ships and rural areas offer a big advantage, because the less ambient light, the more meteors you’ll be able to see. But if the weather cooperates, even at a window in a city it’s possible to enjoy the show.
The current half-full moon sets around midnight, so viewing will be optimal right after that. Your eyes will take a few minutes to adjust to the darkness, so don’t give up on it if at first if you don’t see much. You don’t need a telescope or binocs; in fact, that might just cramp the vast, overall experience. The meteors will cross the sky about one every minute from near the constellations of Cassiopeia and Perseus in the northeast.
But remember: meteor showers are random, so you may see several of these “shooting stars” in a few seconds, then nothing for a few more minutes. The unexpected is part of the fun.