Weather looking good for annual Perseid Meteor Shower this weekend
Saturday evening update: Weather is still looking great for just about everywhere except the immediate ocean beachers where low clouds are hanging around. Just have to dodge the haze, but otherwise, just get away from city lights and you should be good to go.
Of all the meteor showers that come and go through the year, the Perseids are far and away the Northwest's best chance to enjoy one because of the lucky combination of it being one of the brightest shows of the year and mid August is our best shot at clear skies.
And sure enough it looks like the weather will cooperate again this year.
The shower technically has already started -- already a report of a bright fireball early Thursday morning. The show peaks during the late Saturday night/early Sunday morning hours, but any of the weekend nights should have some meteor streaks. (The moon is nearly new, so that is a bonus, but will be rising in the hours after midnight, so perhaps right around midnight will be a good time to go if you want really dark skies.)
Overnight clouds should not be a factor in the greater Seattle Metro area, nor the rest of the I-5 corridor and points east. In fact, it should be crystal clear in the mountains and in Eastern Washington. Low, marine clouds are a potential wet blanket for the coast, along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and in the Chehalis Gap along US 12 in Southwestern Washington -- although those clouds might hold off until such a late time that you'll get some clear skies in before they arrive.
As to where to find the meteors? Simply speaking, just look up. They should be visible in any section of the sky, but they will be radiating out from the northeastern sky. At their pre-dawn peak Sunday morning will be around 40 per hour under clear skies, and that number will drop to about 30 per hours on Monday morning, according to the American Meteor Society.
To see the most meteors, best advice is to go someplace away from city lights. The University of Washington Astronomy Department has compiled a list of their favorite places to watch meteors. Not surprisingly, many of the suggestions are for the Cascade foothills, the Cascades themselves, or Eastern Washington. I can vouch for the Snoqualmie Pass area -- I was up there one year and it was amazing.
If you can't make it outside, NASA will be hosting a live web feed and chat, starting Saturday night.
The Perseid meteor shower comes as the Earth passes through the dust and debris left over from the Swift-Tuttle comet. You can find more information about the shower at Space.com.
And as always, if you get an amazing shots or video of the meteor shower, we'd love to see it! You can post it to our YouNews page.