Best ways to see the 2015 Perseid meteor shower in San Diego
This year’s Perseid meteor shower has been visible since July, but with activity peaking August 12 – 13, you still have a great chance to see one of nature’s biggest light shows.
And good news for Southern California stargazers – there is a new moon on Aug 14, meaning that the sky will be exceptionally dark. The trick is to get away from man made light sources. For San Diegans, we recommend heading to East County or the mountains, or at the very least, turn off the lights at your house and go lie in the grass (if you have any left).
Once you’re outside, make sure to give your eyes a chance to adjust. About 20 minutes will do. While that happens, stay away from cell phones and flash lights. Remember, it’s your chance to be one with nature. Enjoy it sans-cell phone.
Why is the Perseid meteor shower so special? It is one of the largest and most-easily seen in our area. During the peak of the meteor shower, those staring into the sky can expect to see 60 – 100 meteors per hour. Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office has said, “we have found that one meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other. It’s the Perseid meteor shower…”
The Perseids are a meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point from which they appear to come lies in the constellation Perseus (source: Wikipedia). The meteor shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity mid August.
Every year, Earth passes through a cloud of comet dust that was lost as it approaches the sun. NASA reports that Perseid meteoroids hit the Earth’s atmosphere at 132,000 mph. We get to enjoy such a beautiful light show each year because Swift-Tuttle has a larger nucleus than most comets (about 16 miles in diameter). The comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 by Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle but, according to meteorshowersonline.com, numerous references appear in Chinese, Japanese and Korean records throughout the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th centuries.
Here’s a look at footage from 2013: