CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Keep your eye on the sky because one of the year’s most spectacular astronomical events will be visible over the Charleston area this week.
The Perseids meteor shower runs each summer between July and late August, but typically peaks shortly before mid-August. This year, it will peak over Charleston on the night of Aug. 12 and into the morning of Aug. 13.
Produced by the Swift-Tuttle Comet, this particular meteor shower is known for producing a large number of bright meteors–roughly between 60 and 100 per hour.
But, according to Storm Team 2 meteorologist Olivia Lawrence, the full moon may steal the show and hinder people’s ability to see that many meteors.
“What happens in the phase of a full moon, the moon is completely opposite the side of the Earth the Sun is on, so it makes the sky a lot brighter,” she said. “When there’s a lot of ambient light in the night sky it’s harder to see things like distant galaxies, planets, stars, and even meteors. It’s like turning on a flashlight in a room with the light on.”
She added that many stargazers may only see about 20-30% of the shooting stars because of the moon’s brightness.
Nevertheless, Perseid is one of the most active recurring showers, and Lowcountry residents lucky enough to catch it could get quite the show.
For optimal viewing, astronomers recommend finding a dark spot after midnight, giving your eyes between 30 and 45 minutes to adjust to the dark, and lying flat on your back.
While meteors can and will appear anywhere in the sky, this week’s shower radiates from the constellation Perseus.