What to Know
- Get out of the city, way out, for the best viewing
- Typical Perseid rates are about 80 meteors an hour
- Temper expectations because of a bright moon
The Perseid meteor shower is expected to reach its height this weekend, offering a warm-up act for a much-anticipated total solar eclipse later this month.
Typical Perseid rates are about 80 meteors an hour, but astronomers are projecting a slightly higher than normal rate of 150 meteors per hour across North America. A bright moon will wash out the finer Perseids, so the viewing rate will be more like 30 to 40 meteors an hour.
Peak viewing will be Friday night, early Saturday, Saturday night and early Sunday. The best viewing will be in low-light areas well outside of major metropolitan areas.
What to do, where to go and what to see
For urban dwellers, the best viewing opportunities in the Los Angeles area will likely be deep in Angeles National Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains or desert locations to the east -- Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the south and, for the ambitious, Red Rock Canyon State Park to the north of Los Angeles and locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Last year's Perseid excelled with 200 meteors an hour.
The meteor shower is part of magical month for skygazers. The headlining act is Aug. 21 -- a total solar eclipse, the first to cross the U.S. coast to coast in 99 years.