With Clear Skies and a Waning Moon – View the Perseids
This is the best time in the summer for those who love the night sky. From now until August 12, the Perseid meteor shower will get better and better. This is one of the most popular displays of "falling stars" each year. Occasionally, it develops into a meteor storm, as John Denver noted in "Rocky Mountain High." This year, the shower is competing with a bright moon. However, the moon was full August 3rd and will be less of a light source by the nights (and mornings) of the Perseids' peak - August 11-12. Still, you should be able see to about 40 to 50 streaks of light per hour. We always warn you that the number is simply an estimate, because the amount of dust (left over from the Comet Swift-Tuttle) is different every year as the Earth passes through on its orbit around the Sun. We're in the northern latitudes here in Montana, so you can see meteors before midnight (but it's almost always better after midnight). The other nice thing about the Perseids is the occasional "earthgrazer." These are long, bright, slow meteors, usually seen around midnight. But they are rare.
So, get outside, away from lights and get comfortable. If the moon is visible, get into a position where you don't see it. Mosquito repellent might be a good idea, too. Of course, you'll see satellites and jets, but you won't see the International Space Station. It's orbiting at a different latitude this week. One last tip, the meteor shower will continue at lesser intensities until about August 24. Find out more about meteor showers here.