Arizona August 09, 2019
The Arizona Sky Will Light Up With Shooting Stars And A Nearly Full Moon This Weekend
Arizona is home to some of the nation’s darkest skies, and next week, residents will have a front-row seat to a spectacular celestial event. Known as the Perseid meteor shower, this yearly spectacle will peak on the night of August 12 into the morning of August 13. Here’s more on this unparalleled stargazing opportunity and the best place to watch it all:
Perseus, the meteors' namesake, is a large constellation in the northern sky.
Showers occur when small, swift pieces of debris break off from a comet's tail and collide with Earth's atmosphere.
In the case of the Perseids, the comet is an especially large one known as Swift-Tuttle.
This behemoth is roughly 16 miles in diameter, making it two times bigger than the comet that rendered dinosaurs extinct 65 million years ago.
Unfortunately, the August full moon will steal some of the spotlight from the meteors - but all isn't lost. Experts say that the shower is still worth viewing, as it's the second-largest all year.
This year, the shower will peak overnight on Monday, August 12.
You can expect to see 15-20 shooting stars per hour (as opposed to 60+ without the presence of moonlight, but it's better than nothing!)
No telescopes or binoculars are necessary to view the spectacle.
Instead, simply find a remote spot away from light pollution, lay on the ground, and enjoy a panoramic view of the vast night sky.
While equipment isn't required, there are a handful of apps that can enhance your viewing experience.
SkyView, Sky Guide, Scope Nights, and SkySafari all have features such as constellation and meteor identification, reminders about celestial events, remote control of telescopes, and recommendations for dark skies in your area.
If you're in search of a viewing location, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument has some of the darkest skies in Arizona.
Nearby Lowell Observatory will be hosting a watch party from 11:45 p.m. on August 12 until 1 a.m. on August 13, promising a fun-filled night for space geeks all across the state. The best part? It's totally free!
Have you ever seen the Perseid meteor shower? Are you planning on watching it this year? Let us know, and check out our previous article for another cosmic destination:
The Space-Themed Restaurant In Arizona That Is Totally Out Of This World.