The Perseid meteor shower is one of the astronomic highlights of any year, and luckily for those of us slaving away in front of a computer Monday to Friday, the 2018 Perseid shower falls on a weekend. The meteor show will kick off on Saturday, and peak on Sunday evening into the early hours of Monday.
At its peak on August 12th, meteors will be visible at the rate of around one per minute. Rather luckily, these aren’t the kind of meteors that will light up the entire sky and make you think the end times are nigh; Instead, you’ll need to plan to be somewhere with minimal cloud cover and light pollution if you want to take advantage.
The Perseids get their name from Perseus, the constellation that they appear to come out of. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll want to wait until after 11PM, when the constellation rises a little higher in the sky, and then look to the north-east.
To get the best view, you’ll want to be somewhere with minimal cloud coverage and light pollution. You can’t control the weather, but light pollution is easy to account for — I like to use the Dark Site Finder.
If you’re not used to finding constellations, no problem. It’s 2018, and there’s plenty of apps that will help you orient yourself with the night sky. Star Chart and Sky Map are two of the best, and both use your phone’s sensors to give you a virtual overview of the night sky. Just make sure you use your phone well in advance to orient yourself, and then put it in your pocket. It will take your eyes around 20 minutes to best adapt to the darkness.