Although the Perseid Meteor Shower (which began July 17th and last through August 24th) has been producing meteors for the last couple of weeks, tonight the shower is expected produce around 100 meteors per hour. The Perseid meteor shower will peak tonight, Monday, August 12th through tomorrow morning, and many meteors will be visible to Long Islanders.
Perseid meteors are known for being bright, but tonight’s forecast of possible showers and a bright moon is expected to limit visibility for the meteors.
In years with less moonlight the Perseids meteors have been reported at rate of 150-200 meteors an hour. Tonight the Perseids will likely produce about 10-15 visible meteors per hour because of the phase of the moon, which will be nearly full during the showers peak.
Meteors will be visible even under bright suburban skies, but viewers in suburban areas will not be able to see as many shooting stars as those in urban areas or who travel to view the showers. Lucky for Long Islanders, NYS Parks have announced that they will remain open during the peak. These locations are optimal for viewing meteor showers as they are often darker and have open areas where you can view large sections of the sky.
Wherever you are viewing the shower it is important to remember to take about 30 minutes to allow your eyes become adjusted to the dark. Choose an open, dark spot and lay flat to view at as much of the sky as possible. Try to avoid looking at light sources such as the moon, the horizon or cell phones. Introducing light to your eyes and looking at bright screens will reduce the number of meteors you may see.
If you have small children, take them out in the evening as you can start looking for Perseids as soon as it gets dark. The Perseids are more active after midnight and are most active in the hours before dawn. The moon will be setting during the early hours of the morning making the time before dawn the most beneficial for stargazers.
Below is the list of NYS parks that will remain open Monday night through the peak viewing times early Tuesday:
- Jones Beach State Park – West End II
- Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park – Field 3
- Montauk Point State Park – Upper Parking Lot
- Wildwood State Park – Main Parking Lot
The normal stargazing permit will not be required and entrance to the parks is free.
Park officials request that visitors stay near their vehicles and suggest to dress appropriately, bring bug spray, and a reclining chair or blanket.