Perseid meteor shower visible over Charleston this week
CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — Keep an eye on the skies as one of the most spectacular astronomical events of the year will be visible over the Charleston area this week.
The Perseid meteor shower takes place every summer between July and late August, but usually peaks shortly before mid-August. This year it will peak over Charleston on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13.
Produced by Comet Swift-Tuttle, this particular meteor shower is known to produce a large number of bright meteors, approximately between 60 and 100 per hour.
But, according to Storm Team 2 meteorologist Olivia Lawrence, the full moon could steal the show and prevent people from seeing as many meteors.
“What happens during the full moon phase, the moon is completely opposite to the side of the Earth that the Sun is on, so that makes the sky a lot brighter,” she said. “When there’s a lot of ambient light in the night sky, it’s harder to see things like distant galaxies, planets, stars, and even meteors. It’s like turning on a flashlight in a room with the light on.
She added that many astronomers can only see about 20-30% of shooting stars due to the moon’s brightness.
Nonetheless, Perseid is one of the most active recurring showers, and Lowcountry residents lucky enough to catch it could have the whole show.
For optimal viewing, astronomers recommend finding a dark spot after midnight, giving your eyes 30 to 45 minutes to adjust to the darkness, and lying on your back.
While meteors can and will appear anywhere in the sky, this week’s shower radiates from the constellation Perseus.