The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

Get Ready for the Perseid Meteor Shower to Hit Its Peak

(Photo courtesy of Michael Fagan)

The most dazzling of our annual meteor showers is happening right now, but you'll have to wait just a little longer for the Perseids to reach their peak.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs each year from mid-July to late August, but it hits its peak in mid-August, according to NASA. The best times for viewing the Perseids this year will be in the early morning hours just before dawn on August 12 and 13. 

For optimum viewing opportunities, look up to the sky while facing eastward, NASA advises. The meteors from the Perseids appear to radiate from that direction, from left of the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Perseus. However, you can see the shooting stars from anywhere in the sky.

As many as 100 meteors shoot through the sky each hour during the meteor shower. However, this year, the Perseids may be a little more lackluster than usual because of a nearly full moon during the peak period. The light from the bright moon means not as many shooting stars will be visible, according to EarthSky.

The Perseids is the best of the many meteor showers that occur annually because its meteors are very fast and very bright, creating stunning displays in the night sky, NASA reports. Even with a nearly full moon, many meteors an hour can be visible in locations where light pollution does not make sky watching difficult.

You don't need a telescope or any special equipment to see the Perseids. For optimum viewing, find a place with a dark, open sky. Give yourself at least a half-hour, since there can be long lulls between meteors, EarthSky advises. It also takes your eyes as long as 20 minutes to fully adjust to the darkness.

Meteor showers are the result of Earth passing in the path of debris from a comet. The Perseid meteor shower occurs because of debris from the Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which Earth passes through each year at this time, creating the shooting stars. Swift-Tuttle takes 133 years to orbit the sun, and it last passed through the inner solar system in 1992, according to NASA. However, the debris it leaves behind in its wake remains, creating the meteor shower.

If you want to get a jump on your sky watching before the Perseids reach their peak, two other meteor showers are also active now. The Alpha Capricornids will be occurring until August 15, and the Delta Aquariids meteor show lasts until August 23, according to the American Meteor Society. Neither are in their peak, but you may still see some meteors from any of these meteor showers streaking through the night sky.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

Rare White Cardinal Caught on Camera in New Lenox


Here's something you don't see every day.

Read More

Creature Feature: The Loud and Imposing Red-Tailed Hawk


That hawk soaring overhead or perched atop a light pole is probably a red-tailed hawk. Learn more about these high-flying birds.

Read More

Don't Feed Ducks and Geese Bread; You're Making Them Sick


Next time you're at a local pond, resist the urge to feed the ducks and geese. They don't need our help, and we are actually making them sick.

Read More

The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates