Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks August 12th, 2012

Perseids Meteors Are Favourable For August 2012 – This Guide Is Updated For 2012 

Every year in early August, we can observe the Perseid meteor shower (“the Perseids”) and it’s a fascinating sky event. This year 2012, the Perseid peak activity is expected on Sunday August 12th 2012.

The Moon will be waning at 24 days old and rise later in the night, so if you have clear skies over you, it should be favourable conditions for seeing the Perseid meteors.

Here’s a beginners’ guide to the Perseid meteor shower and how best to enjoy it. (Perhaps, impress your friends with these astronomy questions and answers!)

What are the Perseids and what is a meteor?

Every year in August, the Earth passes through rock and dust fragments left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, last time it came near the Sun. As these small particles collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn-up, often creating a startling streak of light across the sky.

You can easily observe this and it can be a wonderous spectacle.

Why is it called the Perseid meteor shower?

The term “Perseid”, refers to the star constellation of Perseus.

Perseid meteor shower radiant point, above the North-East horizon
View of Perseid meteor radiant point, above NE horizon after midnight

The meteors actually have nothing to do with the stars we see from Earth, as being part of Perseus. It just appears as though the meteors originate from Perseus.

In fact, the rock fragments are close to the Earth – that’s why they burn in our atmosphere.

They are very close, just a few hundred miles – not many, many light years distant like the stars.

But, if you trace-back the bright trails of meteors we see, they appear to originate from the stars of Perseus.

When can you see them?

The Perseid meteor shower actually starts in late July and runs to late August. However, the best time to view is around the peak.

It’s not precise, but the 2012 peak is expected on Sunday August 12th.

The predicted peak hours are during the European morning (10.00 GMT). So if you are in the US or Asia and the East, the predicted peak may be closer to your local hours of darkness.

But having said that, there is always uncertainty in these meteor shower predictions, so it may be very worthwhile to observe during the hours of darkness and indeed, other nights, before and after the expected peak.

But this year the Moon should not be a problem, as mentioned already.

What equipment do you need to observe the meteor shower?

The good news is none! Just use your eyes.

It will help your observation if you give your eyes some time (say 15 minutes), to become adapted to the darkness.

Binoculars may also help, but on the other hand, they may restrict your view to a small part of the sky.

The meteors originate in the region of Perseus, but they may appear in view just about anywhere in the sky. Although, if you were to track-back their trails, you would get to Perseus.

Can they be measured, at all?

Yes. Keen astronomers count how many appear in a fixed period of time, in a certain area of the sky. This is expressed as a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR).

We may expect around 100 streaks of meteor light across the sky per hour, at or near the shower peak.

Do please look-up and be alert for Perseid meteors, on Sunday 12th August during hours of darkness and in the nights before and after.

Best of observing luck!

495 Responses to Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks August 12th, 2012

  1. Lynn Comeau says:

    Living in Yarmouth Nova Scotia is beautiful..but so much fog…so had my hopes up for at least tonight..nil as f yet..ceiling too low..hoping tomorrow night will be clear for even just a couple..I love thses amzing things!!!

  2. Danielle says:

    I live in Long Beach, CA. I missed the peak of the shower last night but I plan on trying to watch tonight or tomorrow. At what time and which location would I be able to best view this amazing phenomena? Thank you(:

  3. Harley says:

    We were watching the meteors on the 11th and we had Been seeing some very bright and big flashes in the distance this was after we had seen about 30 meteors and we arnt sure what it could be.
    Can anybody help us

    We live in Cornwall UK

    • tom says:

      i think i also saw these from nottingham uk. im not 100% but im pretty sure you saw the light from the sun reflecting off a sattalite, i didnt know about this till a few years back and have witnessed quite a few since as the earth is littered with them in orbit. usually you will see what looks like a star moving fast across the sky and all of a sudden go out because the suns rays have been blocked casting shadow over the object. like i said im not 100% as im only very amateur, i hope im right though if not hopefully someone will enlighten us both. cheers tom

  4. jasmine maybelle says:

    that is awesome.!!!! its is aug.12th, 2012 at 5 a.m. in the m0rning… and i saw 13 shooting stars in a row, driving from russellville, ky to clarksville, tn.!!!! i thought i was special, i thought it was a sign for me, but its awesome that i got to experience it anyway!!!

  5. Annemarie Lotter says:

    Good day,

    I was searching on Google for an explanation of what I’ve experienced on the morning of the 8th of August in 2008, round about 5am here in South Africa, Gauteng province, city Pretoria, facing East direction.
    At that specific time I was out on the balcony of my complex unit when suddenly I saw this most wonderful bright shooting star. I’ve required an answer from organisation previously, but now come across your website and decided to right. I really would appreciate your answer.

    Kind Regards
    Annemarie
    Pretoria
    South Africa
    Blessings

  6. Barry says:

    @5:46AM 11/10/11 saw a very bright meteor with a duration of at least 3 seconds. It was in the eastern sky beginning @ about 50° and traveled down to the horizon.

  7. Lucy says:

    haha.. funny comments here:-)
    We had a clear sky last night in Manchester, however as I was still trying to work out my planisphere and whereabouts these showers would fall around. Unfortunately too I live in a heavily populated town, so lots of light pollution etc. Major disaster, never been so gutted to not have seen any but planned on doing it tonight and its overcast! Bloody typical. Thanks for all your detailed descriptions, helped me imagine them. Just will have to wait till next year. Like everything else!! Hope you are all doing well on the moon. x

    • Kevin Brown says:

      Thanks Lucy. Good moderators are hard to come by :-)
      I have had similar cloud/Moon troubles here in Kent (where I live!) – best of luck for the remaining couple of days of Perseids, perhaps.

  8. Kevin Brown says:

    Received from Roger…

    Hi -I was looking at the Perseid meteor shower last night 14th Aug. Around 10.30 ish I noticed a bright blueish light to the right of the Plough. It did not move so was not a meteor, or a satellite and after 5 secs it disappeared.

    Did anyone else see it or knows what it was.

    Thanks
    Roger

    • Jeremy van den Driesen says:

      Hello Roger,

      You just may have seen the aurora borealis. But go on-line to ‘heavensabove.com’ and see whether there was any auroral acivity in your part of the world at the time you saw it.
      It does seem very like it. I’ve seen it many times when living in the Okanagan in BC. Canada. However, it usually is a mustard and green colour if the “coronal bombardment” is not too intense. If it is, then it is a spectscular kaleidoscope of colour. But, you need dark skies. Good luck!

      Jeremy

  9. Richy Click says:

    ISS Tracking for Paris TN Aug 14 2011

    Duration Max Elv Approch Departure
    ISS Sun Aug 14/04:12 AM < 1 min 16 16 above SE 10 above SE
    ISS Sun Aug 14/08:40 PM 6 min 80 10 above SW 10 above NE
    ISS Sun Aug 14/10:20 PM < 1 min 11 11 above NNW 10 above N

  10. Richy Click says:

    People are getting confused with the ISS and the Perseids meator shower. The ISS will suddenly appear as a brigh light and move accross the sky from less than a minute to 6 minutes. There are NO directional lights (green or red) and it will disappear around 10 to 20 degrees above the horizon. You track the ISS at the following link:http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/

  11. Mick Stone says:

    I was out in the middle of Kansas fishing last night and saw 6 meteors. Right at sunset I saw a huge one and it kept getting bigger and bigger. It was larger than the North Star and I thought my eyes were freaking out, it felt like I was in some B- movie or tv show. I told my friend it was the end of days and the rapture was upon us. I thought it was a star but it was moving closer and closer until it hit the horizon and disappeared it a second. Mick

    • CSA says:

      I think you saw the International Space Station Fly over last night. It start in the and stopped in the North East.

  12. Kellie&Greg says:

    We live in kansas city missouri.. for us the best. Viewing site is out in the country away from the city lights glow, last night(august 13 into14th) we saw about 30 to 35 meteors tonight(august 14th shortly going into the 15th)we’ve seen about 7 or 8 and its only 1040pm :) good luck

  13. Rodeo King says:

    10.pm Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Looks like a comet in the N.E. Big long-green tail. Amazing. Not moving, bene looking at it for at least 10 minutes… can’t be a meteor. Any ideas?

  14. Natasha says:

    This must have been what I saw last night. I had no idea of the meteor shower but as I went out for my last cig for the night, I saw what appeared to be a bright non-flashing light, slowly moving across the sky. It was the slowest “shooting star” I’ve ever witnessed. I had my sister in law step out and see what I was talking about. We both agreed that it moved far too slow to be an airplane or a star. Perhaps we were wrong. We really thought we might have encountered a UFO. lol. We live in Paris, TN and for us it was the most amazing, mind-boggling thing ever. Never thought a meteor shower would do that to me.

  15. Sam says:

    Hey!! I think it would be fun to live on the moon!! Is there any available space and how does
    one get a place of residence? Anyway me and Lyn were outside last night around 11:30 P.M. PDT and we saw a (Fly By) like I call it. It was incredible; lasted about 3 seconds, when it burned up the smoke or vapour was visible and you could hear it crackel. We live in the mountains, there is no light pollution (i.e. manmade) but yes the moon was very bright, the stars were barely visible. Nights are beginning to get cold. Like 7 – 8 degrees Cel.
    We are interested in the moon though!!!

  16. tyrrel says:

    still no metirior show 2011 kamloops august13

  17. sona says:

    Did anybody see perseid meteor shower in Doha, qatar? I went upstairs and could watch many stars and in between those stars i could watch very tiny stars like sand particles moving. Do you think that is meteor shower? Pls share

  18. FFITS says:

    in KENTUCKY we must already be LUCKY cause theres no shooting/falling stars here as far as i can see!

  19. greg says:

    I was looking forward to watching this shower but I was pretty drunk last night and passed out before 11pm. I woke up at 4:50am on someone’s front lawn.
    I did’nt see any stars.

  20. el says:

    we just saw about twenty orange balls in pairs go by, then shoot up, then disappear. they were timed perfectly and always in pairs, did not look like a meteor. what could it have been? I live on Cape Cod

  21. R0Z3M@R4'z B@B4 says:

    I Came 2 Earth On August 8, 1975 Via The Upsilon Pegasids Originating From The Square Of Pegasus. As I Entered The Earth Atmosphere Angels Accompanied Me Throwing Confetti In The Form Of Ball Lightning Which Fell On Durham England. The Earth Itself Applauded My Coming By Clapping Its Hands In The Form Of Tectonic Plates @ The Borders Of India & Asia Colliding & Causing A Great Earthquake. I Then Chose A Vessel From A Young Woman Named “ROSEMARY” Her 6th Son & 9th Child!!

  22. Brie says:

    I watched last night from 11:30 to 1:00 am I live in ny and I saw 10 the whole time. I just found out if you use a fm radio on a non used channel u can hear them coming in, it may be best to use headphones

  23. jena says:

    im from mongolia and i watched meteor shower between 3:00-4:00 @ my balcony :P the moon was so bright but i saw many many stars :) and 3 dim stars . it was my firs time dat watched meteor shower

  24. mary grist says:

    I love you guys. keep the funnies coming.anybody got any cheese? green preferably.

  25. Karl says:

    I live in Houston and on August 9th, 2011 I was sitting at the pool looking at the stars in the big dipper and a huge comet with a long fell completely across the distance of the dipper. It was absolutely amazing.

  26. Jill says:

    I live in Ontario, Canada and last night between 12-1230 I began watching, but the moon was too bright I only seen a couple big ones whisk through the sky. I’lll try watching again tonight.

  27. jonathan says:

    hey i live in iowa and i didn’t see anything tonight but i am going out again later and see if i can see some

    good luck!

  28. Jeremy Hughes says:

    anyone see anything in New Orleans? We saw one very dim one at that- what would have been an optimal time?

  29. mary says:

    I am from Bulgaria and last night between 12.56 and 1.30 am Bulgarian time watched the shower too.At the beginning I saw 6 meteors in 15 minites,but then the Moon became too bright ,the weather too cold and no meteors were visible from my point of view ,so I stopped watching,but it was great and exciting.One of the meteors was extremely bright and beautiful and really looked like a “falling star”.I am planning to be on my watch again tonight ,a little more earlier,and hope to see the Perseids again .

  30. mary says:

    Hello , guys! I am from Bulgaria and last night between 12.56 and 1.30 am watched the shower too.At the beginning I saw 6 meteors in 15 minites,but then the Moon became too bright ,the weather too cold and no meteors were visible from my point of view ,so I stopped watching,but it was great and exciting.One of the meteors was extremely bright and beautiful and really looked like a “falling star”.I am planning to be on my watch again tonight ,a little more earlier,and hope to see the Perseids again .

  31. jennifer says:

    Hello, I live in Las Vegas NEVADA, What would be a good area to go to see it or which direction? This will be my first time watching it :D It’s almost 11 o’clock pm here. about to be the 13th :D thanks!

    • KJ says:

      If I were still in LV, I’d be driving out to the Kelso Dunes in CA, past Primm. Camping and a steep climb, but the best view ever. Wish I could.

  32. Rico says:

    I live on the moon. Which direction should I look to see a meteor? I see them a lot from up here but I like communicating with people on Earth.

    • fifi says:

      really! i too live on the moon…..which side are you on? i reside on the polar side (the dark side of the moon) oh & did you experiance a “power” outage in your area last evening @ approximately 7:30pm(earth time)?????

      • Rico says:

        I live in the area where there are a bunch of golf balls and stuff probably left by astronauts. I spend time exploring craters and things like that. No power outage that I can remember. I was listening to my CD of Moon River but I think the CD is getting dusty. I will watch for meteors again. I often can see the wonders of the world including car lights on freeways on Earth.

      • Sydney says:

        Do you live in Cottonwood CA

    • russian monkey says:

      where abouts on the moon, i’m there too, i’ve been waiting at a bus stop for 49 years but they never come!!

    • Grace says:

      No one can live on the moon. Also no one is dumb anough to believe that!

  33. Ciara says:

    I live in ny when is the best time for me to see them?

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