The best places to watch this week's dazzling meteor shower

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This Might Be Your Best Chance to Catch the Perseids


There's a spectacular meteor shower happening this week and you don't want to miss it.

Each August, we're treated to the Perseid meteor shower, but this year's will be exceptionally brilliant because it coincides with a new moon. That means there will be no moonlight to outshine the meteors as they race across the sky.

The Perseid meteor shower takes place from the end of July through most of August, but the best time to watch, when astronomers estimate you can see as much as 100 meteors an hour, will be in the wee hours of the morning at 4 am ET on Thursday, Aug. 13, according to Universe Today.

However, if you go out anytime after dark this week, you're almost guaranteed to spot at least one falling star, as we like to sometimes call them. This bright Perseid meteor (in the GIF below) was caught on tape by NASA's All Sky Fireball Network on August 4th.

But where's the best place to go to watch? Business Insider consulted the experts to find out.

perseidNASA

"Generally if you can drive 30 minutes or more away from the city, you'll be ok," Mike Hankey, the Operations Manager for the American Meteor Society, told Business Insider in an email. City lights tend to drown out most objects in the night sky, and that includes meteors.

Here's a map of light pollution from city lights across the country, which Hankey provided:

light pollution us

NASA

"If you made it to an orange zone or better, you'd be able to observe," he wrote. "Another way to gauge the light -- if you can see some stars, then you can see some meteors. If you look up and see nothing, then you need to keep moving away from the city."

NASA's meteor expert Bill Cooke says that, "Pastures or farms are good. Anywhere where there's a clear sky — state parks, national parks," are also great places to go as long as they're open to the public and safe.

While the city isn't the best spot to see the meteor shower — in fact, it's the absolute worst — Cooke says the Perseids are special for city dwellers:

new york city skyline night
NASA

"Normally with the other meteor showers I'd say you'd see none, but the Perseids have a few very bright ones and you might see those from the city," Cooke told Business Insider. "People in cities shouldn't expect to see more than a handful of Perseids over the course of one night."

He advises that even if you're in the city you should try to get to as dark a place as possible, while making sure to be smart and safe about the spot you pick:

"If you can't get away from the city, you need to put yourself in the shadow of a building where you can still see a lot of sky," Cooke said. "Go somewhere dark where there's not a street light bearing down you."

And if there's no good place for you to observe, then your best bet is to watch NASA's live broadcast of the Perseid meteor shower beginning Aug. 12 at 10 pm ET and running through to 2 am, Aug 13. During the broadcast, NASA experts, including Cooke, will discuss the history of the Perseids and take questions on Twitter from anyone who sends their questions to @NASA_Marshall with #askNASA in the tweet.

Check out the LiveStream

Click through to see more amazing meteor photos:

28 PHOTOS
Stunning meteor showers
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The best places to watch this week's dazzling meteor shower
TOPSHOT - A photographer looks at the sky at night to see the annual Geminid meteor shower on the Elva Hill, in Maira Valley, near Cuneo, northern Italy on December 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / MARCO BERTORELLO (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, Dec. 15, 2015-- A meteor streaks across the sky during the Geminid meteor shower over Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 15, 2015. (Xinhua/Shao Ying via Getty Images)
A general view of the stars above Sycamore Gap prior to the Perseid Meteor Shower above Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday night, but much of the UK is facing cloudy conditions. The best places to view the event is in northern England and Scotland. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
CORRECTION This long-exposure photograph taken on April 23, 2015 on Earth Day shows Lyrids meteors shower passing near the Milky Way in the clear night sky of Thanlyin, nearly 14miles away from Yangon. AFP PHOTO / Ye Aung Thu (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
A multiple exposure picture taken in the early hours of August 12, 2014 shows a Perseids meteor shower in the night sky from the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Madrid near the municipality of Valle del Lozoya. The perseid meteor shower occurs every year in August when the Earth passes through the debris and dust of the Swift-Tuttle comet. AFP PHOTO / DANI POZO (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
This long-exposure photograph taken on August 12, 2013 shows the Milky Way in the clear night sky near Yangon. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year in August when the Earth passes through the debris and dust of the Swift-Tuttle comet. AFP PHOTO / Ye Aung Thu (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
A multiple exposure picture taken in the early hours of August 11, 2013 shows a Perseids meteor shower in the sky, near the municipality of La Hiruela, on the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Madrid. AFP PHOTO / DANI POZO (Photo credit should read DANI POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
CATHEDRAL GORGE STATE PARK, NV - AUGUST 12: Perseid meteors streak across the sky on August 12, 2013 in Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada. The annual display, known as the Perseid shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HOLMES CHAPEL, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 13: A Perseid meteor (R) streaks across the sky past the light trail of an aircraft over the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank on August 13, 2013 in Holmes Chapel, United Kingdom.The annual display, known as the Perseid shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
In this photo taken with long shutter speed, a meteor sparks, lower right, while entering the earth's atmosphere behind an olive tree during the Perseids Meteor Shower, in Fanos village, central Greece, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013. The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids shower is visible from mid- July each year, with the peak in activity being between Aug. 9 and 14 depending on the particular location of the stream.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
This long-exposure photograph taken on August 12, 2013 shows people watching for the Perseid meteor shower in the night sky near Yangon. The meteor shower occurs every year in August when the Earth passes through the debris and dust of the Swift-Tuttle comet. AFP PHOTO / Ye Aung Thu (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
In this long exposure photo, a streak appears in the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower above a roadside silhouette of a Spanish fighting bull, conceived decades ago in Spain as highway billboards, in Villarejo de Salvanes, central Spain in the early hours of Monday Aug. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul White)
A long exposure image showing a Perseids meteor (L) streaking across the night sky over St. Ioan medieval church near the village of Potsurnentsi, late on August 12, 2013. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year in August when the Earth passes through the debris and dust of the Swift-Tuttle comet. AFP PHOTO / Dimitar DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK, NV - DECEMBER 14: A Geminid meteor streaks between peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation early December 14, 2010 in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The meteor display, known as the Geminid meteor shower because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini, is thought to be the result of debris cast off from an asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon. The shower is visible every December. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A meteor (L) from the Geminids meteor shower enters the Earth's atmosphere past the stars Castor and Pollux (two bright stars, R) on December 12, 2009 above Southold, New York. This meteor shower gets the name 'Geminids' because it appears to radiate from the constellation Gemini. Geminids are pieces of debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. Earth runs into a stream of debris from the object every year in mid-December, causing the meteors. The peak of the shower is expected the night of December 13-14 at about 0500 GMT on December 14. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The night sky over the ancient city of Ayutthaya, Thailand, is seen Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, as meteors from Leonid meteor shower appear. Forecasters define a meteor storm as 1,000 or more meteors per hour expected to streak across the sky during the shower's peak. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
A Perseids meteor shower is seen in the sky in the early hours of August 12, 2008 near the town of Sofia. The night between 12 August and 13 August is expected to be the peak of the Perseids meteor shower over the eastern sky, a meteor shower which comes every year, beginning in late July and stretching into August. AFP PHOTO / BORYANA KATSAROVA (Photo credit should read BORYANA KATSAROVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Leonid meteors are seen streaking across the sky over snow-capped Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain, early Monday Nov. 19, 2001, in this 7-minute exposure photo. Star gazers braved cold temperatures at the foot of Mount Fuji to observe the shower of Leonid meteors. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
Perseid Meteor Shower, 2011 (NASA, Marshall, 8/09/11)
Perseid Meteors Streak Through Late-Summer Skies (NASA, August, 2010)
Leonids meteors are seen streaking through the sky in Muju county, 300 kilometers, southwest of Seoul, South Korea Monday, Nov. 19, 2001. (AP Photo/Yonhap)
Fellhorn III (perseids meteor shower)
This Oct. 31, 1998 photo illustration provided by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory/ Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy/National Science, shows the Comet Giacobini-Zinner, a fairly frequent visitor to the inner solar system, was captured by the Kitt Peak 0.9-meter telescope in Tucson, Ariz. North is up with east to the left. Since the comet was moving across the sky fairly quickly, and since color images are made by combining successive exposures through three different filters, a conventional combination would have either a streaked comet or a set of colored dots for each star. To avoid this, the complete sequence of images, lasting over ninety minutes, was specially processed. All frames for one color were combined with filtering that removed the moving comet: this stars-only image was subtracted from each comet frame, and the comet frames were registered and summed with further filtering to remove any residuals. The two images, with stars only and with comet only, were then added together to produce a single-color image in which neither the comet nor the stars was trailed. These three frames were then united in the final color picture, shown here. (AP Photo/National Optical Astronomy Observatory/ Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy/National Science
A meteor streaks through the sky over Joshua trees and rocks at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's Mojave Desert in this 30-minute time exposure ending at 1:15 a.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1998. Part of the most spectacular meteor shower in 33 years, the celestial fireworks were actually particles in a long tail of the comet Tempel-Tuttle striking the atmosphere. Stars moving through the sky as the Earth rotates are seen as a series of short lines across the frame. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
IRAN - SEPTEMBER 07: A bright meteor appears near bright Star Sirius during the Gemenis Meteor Shower in December, as recorded from Zagros Mountains of Iran. (Photo by Babek Tafreshi/SSPL/Getty Images)
The Andromedes, a shower of meteors observed at Boston, USA, November 1872. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
This Oct. 31, 1998 photo illustration provided by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory/ Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy/National Science, shows the Comet Giacobini-Zinner, a fairly frequent visitor to the inner solar system, was captured by the Kitt Peak 0.9-meter telescope in Tucson, Ariz. North is up with east to the left. Since the comet was moving across the sky fairly quickly, and since color images are made by combining successive exposures through three different filters, a conventional combination would have either a streaked comet or a set of colored dots for each star. To avoid this, the complete sequence of images, lasting over ninety minutes, was specially processed. All frames for one color were combined with filtering that removed the moving comet: this stars-only image was subtracted from each comet frame, and the comet frames were registered and summed with further filtering to remove any residuals. The two images, with stars only and with comet only, were then added together to produce a single-color image in which neither the comet nor the stars was trailed. These three frames were then united in the final color picture, shown here. (AP Photo/National Optical Astronomy Observatory/ Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy/National Science
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