Skip to main content

How to watch the 2023 Perseid meteor shower this weekend

This weekend sees the opportunity to catch the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids, as the Earth passes through a cloud of debris from a comet called Swift–Tuttle. If you fancy doing a bit of stargazing then the evening of Saturday, August 12 is the perfect time to catch the meteor shower. Though if you don’t fancy heading out or if you live somewhere with limited visibility of the sky then there will also be the chance to observe the shower from the comfort of your home thanks to an online livestream of the event.

Meteor showers are the result of tiny particles passing through Earth’s atmosphere and creating streaks across the sky. These showers of many meteors happen at set times each year as they occur when the Earth passes through a particular point in its orbit of the sun. In the case of the Perseids, named as they appear to come from the direction of the constellation Perseus, they occur when the Earth moves through a patch of debris left by an orbiting comet.

What to expect from the Perseid meteor shower

A bright Perseid meteor streaked down on August 7, 2010, over buildings at the Stellafane amateur astronomy convention in Springfield, Vermont.
A bright Perseid meteor streaked down on August 7, 2010, over buildings at the Stellafane amateur astronomy convention in Springfield, Vermont. Sky & Telescope / Dennis di Cicco

This year’s shower promises to be a good one, thanks to the warm summer evening and a waning crescent moon which shouldn’t interfere too much with visibility.

“People in the U.S. can reasonably expect to see around 40 Perseids in the hour just before dawn on the peak nights. That’s about one every couple of minutes, which is not bad,” said Bill Cooke, who leads NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, in a statement. “However, we are assuming you are out in the country, well away from cities and suburbs.”

As Cooke mentions, the amount of light pollution in your area will have a significant effect on how many meteors you are able to see. For the best views, you want to find a dark location far away from cities or other sources of light. You also want to avoid looking at anything bright like a phone screen while you wait, as this can affect your night vision which hampers your ability to see meteors.

The Perseid meteors appear to stream away from the shower's "radiant" point near the border of Perseus and Cassiopeia.
The Perseid meteors appear to stream away from the shower’s “radiant” point near the border of Perseus and Cassiopeia. Sky & Telescope Illustration

Sky & Telescope magazine has this helpful guide on where in the sky you should look for the best view of the shower.

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower online

If finding a safe, warm, and sufficiently dark place to observe the shower would be difficult for you, then another option is to enjoy the shower via a live stream. The Virtual Telescope Project will show a view of the skies as seen from its facility in Manciano, Italy, which you can watch using the video below:

Perseid meteor shower 2023, online observation – 13 Aug. 2022

Coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) on Saturday, August 12.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
How to watch the Euclid dark matter telescope launch this Saturday
This artist impression shows Euclid leaving Earth and on its way to Sun-Earth Lagrange point L2. This equilibrium point of the Sun-Earth system is located 1.5 million kilometres from Earth in the opposite direction of the Sun. L2 revolves around the Sun along with Earth. During Euclid’s orbit at L2, Euclid’s sunshield always blocks the light from the Sun, Earth and Moon while pointing its telescope towards deep space, ensuring a high level of stability for its instruments.

The astronomy community is about to get a new instrument to probe the mysteries of dark matter, with the launch of the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Euclid telescope this Saturday. Euclid is a highly sophisticated space-based telescope that will observe huge swaths of the sky to create a 3D model of the universe to help elucidate some of the biggest questions in cosmology.

Euclid | Journey to darkness

Read more
How to watch Virgin Galactic’s first commercial rocket flight on Thursday
VSS Unity during a test flight to the edge of space.

Virgin Galactic: Meet the Galactic 01 Crew

After years of testing its rocket-powered plane, Virgin Galactic is finally ready to launch its first commercial flight on Thursday, June 29.

Read more
How to watch ISS astronauts install a new solar array tomorrow
NASA astronaut and Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Steve Bowen is pictured outside the International Space Station during his eighth career spacewalk, during which he routed cables and installed insulation to ready the orbital outpost for its next set of roll-out solar arrays.

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 15, two astronauts will head out of the confines of the International Space Station (ISS) to perform a spacewalk. They'll be working on the exterior of the station to install a new solar panel as part of a long-term project to upgrade the station's power system.

Spacewalk with Astronauts Steve Bowen and Woody Hoburg (June 15, 2023) (Official NASA Broadcast)

Read more