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How to see Perseid Meteor Shower, viewable near Rochester

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – While this may be another ‘under ideal conditions’ scenario, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower is coming to town. You will just need to be patient to see the meteors.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: You may have another chance to catch some more of the Perseid meteor showers overnight. There may be some cirrus clouds that try to interfere with the clear skies, but some clearing should allow for a decent viewing late tonight and early Thursday.

While it may be tough to catch a meteor, it may be still worth it to see the constellations. Photo courtesy Space Weather.

It is that time of year! Tuesday, August 12 overnight into Wednesday, August 13 will offer peak viewing of the Perseid meteor shower, which is actually debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle. On average one person should see anywhere between 60-90 meteors an hour if they have an open view of the sky with no clouds and away from city lights. That’s a lot of ‘if’s.

Light pollution on a map. The brighter the color, the worse the pollution. Image found here
  1. Get away from light pollution. This is by-far the most important one to remember to see meteors. You also need to let your eyes adjust to the night sky for at least ten minutes. The best would be well away from downtown and into any of the surrounding counties.
  2. Find an open area where you have an unobstructed view of the sky.
  3. Look north. While the sky could feature a meteor anywhere, the best chances will be to look generally north.
  4. Know that you may have to contend with the moon. It is a waning crescent at about third quarter moon and rises just after midnight.
  5. Hope for no clouds. The forecast does call for clear skies.
Light pollution is the highest between 390 and 590.

As far as how many you may see, if you are under the right conditions expect about 30 per hour. That boils down to one every few minutes, so patience is important. Patience also gives your eyes time to adjust to the night sky. Note in the light pollution map above that it is critical you find a place away from an urban area. That may also mean you need to park somewhere and walk a bit of distance to a place where there are no lights. Generally anywhere outside of Monroe County away from roads is a good bet.

More information on meteors and how to define them here.

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