The Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend across Central Oregon, and NASA scientists say it will be the most impressive show in the past few years.
Not a cloud is expected across the Central Oregon skies Saturday night, perfect conditions for watching the shooting starts. The moon is currently in a waning crescent phase, which is also favorable, due to the little amount of moonlight it will give off.
Temperatures overnight will fall to the lower 50s, so bringing along a warm blanket and a hot beverage is a good idea.
The Perseid meteor shower happens every year, generally in late June to early August. The shooting stars are debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. As the Earth passes through the debris field left behind by the comet, the dust burns up in the atmosphere. When this happens, we see the bright lights shoot across the sky.
The peak hours for the High Desert will be between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, with 60 meteors expected per hour. For those not willing to stay up late, have no fear: meteors will be clearly visible throughout the evening as well.
The best way to view the meteor showers will be to find a location away from artificial light, generally a nice field in the country, or hill to the west. Look to the northeast sky, just above the horizon, at the Perseus constellation, the namesake of the meteor shower, because the meteors appear to emanate from that constellation.
One special note about this night’s showers is that Jupiter, Venus and the moon will be aligning in the early-morning sky. Look to the east just before sunrise, where shooting stars should be crossing the alignment of planets and the moon.