Where to Watch This Week's Perseid Meteor Shower in Cincinnati

This annual celestial summer event is producing shooting stars this week, with a special viewing at Stonelick State Park on Thursday.

click to enlarge A Perseid meteor sighting - PHOTO: CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0
A Perseid meteor sighting

If you look up at the night sky this week, you may catch a glimpse of a shooting star.

Or a meteor, to be more exact.

The popular Perseid Meteor Shower has returned with peak viewing times midnight-4 a.m. Aug. 12 and 13 (the meteors also were viewable Wednesday night). In addition, you might see a stray meteor earlier in the night for "a few days on either side of the peak," says Cincinnati Observatory Astronomer Dean Regas.

"The Perseids are tiny specks of ice and dust that come from the tail of a comet: Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every year, Earth slams into this cosmic debris to create these shooting stars," Regas says on the Cincinnati Observatory website.  

According to NASA, "The Perseids will appear as quick, small streaks of light: they get their name because they look like they’re coming from the direction of the constellation Perseus."

Regas gave CityBeat some tips last year about the best ways to view the annual Perseid Meteor Shower.

  • Leave your binoculars and telescopes at home. Regas says it's best to stargaze is with your naked eye, taking in as much of the sky as possible.
  • Before midnight, face northeast and scan the heavens. Later in the night, face east. If you're out watching before sunrise, face south. "Don't expect to see a laser light show out there, but consider yourself lucky to see 10 to 15 meteors per hour," Regas says.
  • Head away from the bright lights of the city. "The darker your sky, the more faint meteors you could see," Regas says. NASA says those in the Northern Hemisphere who are far away from light pollution could see more than 40 Perseids per hour.  

For optimal viewing, join Cincinnati Observatory members at Stonelick State Park (2895 Lake Drive, Pleasant Plain, Ohio) on Aug. 12 for a free public event. Gates will open around sunset. Stargazers will set up in the parking lot before the swimming beach.

For more info, visit cincinnatiobservatory.org.


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