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4 Tips For Watching The Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak and producing hundreds of shooting stars a night from Aug. 11-13.

Every year the Perseid meteor shower is one of the highlights of summer stargazing. It started about a week ago and will peak Aug. 11-13.

These shooting stars are debris left by the passing Swift-Tuttle comet burning in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Perseids are known for bright, frequent meteor sightings.

Jean Creighton is Lake Effect's astronomy contributor and the director of UW-Milwaukee’s Manfred Olson Planetarium. She begins by explaining why the shower is named Perseid and how that name can be misleading:

“[The Perseid meteor shower] seems to radiate from the direction of the Perseus constellation. That does not mean that the best thing to do is to look at the constellation,” she says.

Now that you know where not to look, Creighton has a few tips on how best to watch the meteor shower:

  1. Find the largest horizon. The more sky you can see gives you a better chance of seeing a shooting star.
  2. Bad weather one night won’t ruin the entire peak, so come back the next night and try again.
  3. Bring a chair or a blanket because standing and craning your neck gets uncomfortable.
  4. Don’t give up after five minutes. Give yourself about an hour and you should see a few shooting stars.
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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
Jack Hurbanis started as the WUWM Digital Intern in January 2020, transitioning to Assistant Digital Producer in July.
Dr. Jean Creighton has always been inspired by how the cosmos works. She was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Athens, Greece where her mother claims she showed a great interest in how stars form from the age of five. She studied physics at the University of Athens and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Waterloo. She began teaching astronomy at UW-Milwaukee in 1999 and in 2007, she took over as director of UWM's Manfred Olson Planetarium.