We live in central Europe and enjoy watching the Perseids each year. According to
this, the shower this year will be difficult to see because of the almost full moon.
Although the peak is around 12 August, given the cycle of the moon, is there a better optimal date to watch that takes into account the brightness of the moon?
just bumping this thread out of Zombieland as I am sure that Dopers must have some insight into this question…
Not a whole you can to to catch the peak this year as the 12th is three days before the full moon. Fortunately the peak is not all that sharp – it’s already started building – so what I would do is view on the 11th or better yet the 10th. Moonset is 0320 and 0230 respectively and the fewer meteors per hour will be more then compensated by that pesky moon’s disappearance. You want to be looking after midnight anyway as that’s when we’re facing into the wind, so to speak, and are getting the ones we run into rather than those that catch up from behind.
Yeah, I was just about to mention that meteor-watching is better after midnight, if you don’t mind being up at those times.
If you do mind, well, the Perseids happen every year. It’s not like you’re missing out on your only chance in a lifetime because of the phase of the moon.
DesertDog is right.
Saturday, August 10
• Narrow windows for good Perseid viewing. The annual Perseid meteor shower is predicted peak late on the night of August 12-13, but the waxing gibbous Moon won’t set that night until just before the beginning of dawn.
You may do better a day before that, on the morning of the 12th, if you catch the hour or so of dark sky between moonset and the start of dawn (for North America). And, there’s a possibility this year of a second peak in the meteor rates due right around then for North America (around 10h UT August 12th).
A day earlier on the morning of the 11th — late tonight, in other words — we get two dark hours before dawn, but the meteor rates will probably be low. However, there are indications that this year’s Perseid shower is bringing some unusual early fireballs.
thanks. That is very helpful. And I note those days are during the weekend, so even more convenient…