Backyard Observatory

The Summer Meteor Shower Worth Going Out of Your Way to See

It's time to make plans for the best meteor shower of the year.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2021
Photo via Kevin Key / Slworking / Getty Images

There are probably only a handful of stargazing events that entice people to travel. The biggest of which might be a total solar eclipse, which, for most people, involves having to drive or even fly great distances. That's not happening this summer. (Though, there is a total solar eclipse in December if you want to make a trek to Antarctica.)

Thankfully, every August, the Perseid meteor shower arrives, and it's annually one of the best—if not the best—meteor showers. To view a meteor shower, it's best to get out of the city and away from light pollution. So, it's a great time to plan a road trip to line up with the arrival of the Perseids. 

How to See the Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseids will peak the night of August 11 into the morning of August 12. Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells Thrillist that it'll likely be the best meteor shower of 2021. Even when it doesn't produce the most meteors of any display in a year, it lands in August, making it a lot more appealing than December's Geminids, which tend to be the other most reliably impressive meteor shower. 

Cooke says that this year's Perseids have the potential to produce up to 100 meteors per hour. That'd be an impressive rate no matter what meteor shower we're talking about. But the Perseids are also rich in fireballs, which are meteors that burn brightly as they crash through Earth's atmosphere, making the display even more awe-inspiring. 

The night of August 11, start looking around 11 pm, Cooke tells Thrillist. That's when you'll start to see the most meteors this year. "You'll also have good rates on the night of August 12," Cooke notes. "Personally, though, I'd go out on the night of August 11."

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners, the best meteor showers of 2021, or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.
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