Calling all space enthusiasts! The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend ☄️

The morning of Aug. 13 will be the best time to try and spot meteors before dawn

The meteor shower peaks on Aug. 12 and 13 this year

One of the better-known meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere peaks this weekend: The Perseids! Here’s a breakdown of what they are and what viewing conditions could look like:

Key Points

  • The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the the night of Aug. 12 and morning of Aug. 13 this year, but you may be able to spot some in the mornings leading up to the peak.
  • The best time to spot these meteors is in the early morning, after midnight and before dawn.
  • After the Perseus constellation rises above the northeastern horizon, look to the sky in the early morning hours to try and spot the meteors.
  • The moon will be in the waning crescent phase and only 10% full during this timeframe, which will help visibility.
  • With a completely dark sky, observers have seen up to 90 meteors per hour in the past.

What causes the Perseids?

According to, the Perseid meteor shower comes from the large parent comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. This comet was discovered in the 1860s and orbits the sun approximately every 133 years. The last time it passed close to Earth was in 1992.

Pieces of ice and space rock left behind by this comet cause this meteor shower, specifically as the Earth passes through the debris field. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower (i.e., this weekend) correlates to when the Earth passes through the densest part of this debris.

This year’s meteor shower

The meteor shower already started in July but has been gradually rising to this weekend’s peak.

To help with viewing, the moon will be in a waning crescent phase during this timeframe, meaning it should only be about 10% full for the peak of the shower and the sky will be relatively darker. 🌘

The radiant point (where the meteors appear to generate from) is seemingly close to the constellation Perseus. The constellation will rise above the northeastern horizon after 11 p.m. before climbing high in the sky through the early morning hours.

When clear skies are present, the best time to view meteors is right before dawn when that radiant point is higher. When spotted, these meteors are typically colorful and leave behind glowing trails.

Best viewing practices

In terms of weather conditions, we’ll likely see what’s been the theme over the past several days: Clear skies at night and into the very early morning hours, then the cloud cover builds back in before sunrise. The best window to spot the meteors with minimal clouds will likely be in between the midnight - 3 a.m. timeframe.

If you’re wanting to test your luck and see what you can find, head out to a dark spot that’s also away from bright, city lights. It’s also best to find a place that isn’t obstructed by tall buildings and structures so that you can see as much of the sky as possible.

Telescopes and binoculars are not required, just some patience and about 30 minutes to let your eyes adjust to the night sky!

Editor’s Note: These meteors are not to be confused with the Starlink satellites, which have also been reported in the South Central Texas sky over the past few days. These satellites often look like a ‘line of lights’ in the sky. You’ll know the difference if you happen to spot a meteor, since meteors will move much faster!

Meteor jargon

Meteor, meteorite, meteoroid... what’s the difference? According to NASA, they’re all related to the flashes of light in the sky that we know as “shooting stars.”

Depending on where they’re located though, we refer to them by different names:

  • For example, meteoroids are essentially “space rocks” that can vastly range in size.
  • When these meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere and eventually burn up, the “shooting star” that we sometimes see is then called a meteor.
  • If a meteor doesn’t fully burn up and part of it reaches the ground, it’s then referred to as a meteorite. It can be a little confusing, I know!

To put this into perspective, you may remember a story we put together in June where South Texas meteorites were found and brought to the Witte Museum in San Antonio. Since these “space rocks” hit the ground, we referred to them as meteorites.

By the way, if you ever happen to see a fireball in the night sky, report it to the American Meteor Society here!

Good luck!

About the Author

Meteorologist Mia Montgomery joined the KSAT Weather Authority Team in September 2022. As a Floresville native, Mia grew up in the San Antonio area and always knew that she wanted to return home. She previously worked as a meteorologist at KBTX in Bryan-College Station and is a fourth-generation Aggie.

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