Summer Skies Are About to Put On a Big Show

Look for the Perseid meteor showers, the Buck moon, and an appearance by the Milky Way
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2021 2:45 PM CDT
Get Ready for the Best Meteor Shower of the Year
A meteor streaks across the sky over Grant County, near Marion, Ind., in the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, during the Perseid meteor shower.   (Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP)

It’s summer in the US—time to find a park, a yard, a dark, quiet place, and look at the stars. The star of the show is always the Perseid meteor shower, which starts soon (usually July 14) and lasts about a month, peaking in mid to early August. Look for streaks of light that appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, though it's not necessary to locate that constellation to enjoy the show. The meteors are bits broken off of the comet 109p/Swift-Tuttle, plus a few asteroid pieces, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes as spectacular fireballs, CBS News reports.

That’s not the only show the sky is putting on this summer. Look for a bright star—actually Venus—next to the crescent moon just after sunset on Monday (July 12), per Forbes. The next full moon, on July 23—the “Buck” moon—will get a little added star power from Saturn and Jupiter. The next new moon, and the darkest skies, will be Aug. 8. Look for the Perseids to peak in the dark skies a few nights after that. And, if you can get someplace really dark with minimal light pollution, look at the skies to the south for the Milky Way. (Read more Perseids stories.)

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