Perseid meteor shower in 2016: The Perseids are debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the Sun every 133 years. When it gets close to the Sun, the heat from our star turns the ices in the comet into gas, forming the long tail. Small bits of rocky debris also slough off and trail behind the comet. When the Earth plows into these, they burn up in our atmosphere to form the shower.
However, they’re not alone in space. Jupiter’s gravity tugs on the stream of particles, causing their orbits to shift. Sophisticated computer simulations indicate that this year, the Earth should be plowing through a denser than usual part of the stream, creating as many as 200 shooting stars per hour!
Perseid meteor shower in 2016: When Can I See the Perseids?
The best time to view the Perseids, or most other meteor showers is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.
Where Can I See the Perseids?
The Perseids can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky and the zenith (the point in sky directly above you).
While you can easily see a shooting star with the naked eye just looking straight up, the table below shows the exact direction of the Perseids from your location.
Location in the Sky Tonight
From the sky of Delhi, the Perseids this year will be best viewed on the night of August 11 and 12, after Moonset, at around 12:20 am (12:23 to be precise) till 5.00 am, just before dawn. Look up near the Perseus constellation in the sky, in the North-East direction (Altitude of 30 deg. and Azimuth of around 35 deg.), and if you are at a dark enough place, shining streaks of light will be visible dashing through that part of the sky.
Direction to see the Perseids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north, a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.
Perseid meteor shower in 2016: How to Watch Meteor Showers
- Check the weather: Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot, all you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.
- Get out of town: Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights
- Prepare to wait: Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.