The Perseid meteor shower is active from 17th July to 24th August, peaking on 12th August. It is a little difficult to see as the meteors will appear from very low on the northern horizon. This shower emanates from the constellation Perseus, which is not visible to the south-west of WA. Those in northern WA see the meteor shower a little higher and will be able to make the most out of the event.

The Perseids meteor shower is generated from comet Swift-Tutle and renowned for producing bright meteors. 

When and where to look:

The best time to see the Perseid meteor shower is from around 4:15am for an hour or so, when it has risen a bit above the northern horizon. 

Do I Need a Telescope to see a Meteor Shower?

You don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see a meteor shower. It’s a great time to gather with friends, roll out your favourite picnic rug, pack the drinks and snacks, and start counting how many “shooting stars” you all see!

It’s best to view a meteor shower under a dark night sky. Most meteors will be quite faint so darker surroundings will make it easier to see them. You might consider heading out to a dark sky location at one of WA’s Astrotourism Towns. If you’re an astrophotographer, it is an excellent opportunity to image meteors over some of WA’s iconic landscapes. Cross your fingers for a spectacular light show.

What is a meteor shower?

A meteor shower is a celestial spectacle where a group of meteors, or shooting stars, streak across the night sky. This dazzling event occurs when Earth passes through the debris a comet leaves, causing the debris particles (as small as a grain of sand) to burn up upon entering our atmosphere. Visible to the naked eye, meteor showers offer a mesmerizing display of bright streaks, adding a touch of cosmic wonder to the night. They are caused by debris entering Earth’s atmosphere. The debris that causes a meteor can be travelling between 11 to 73 km/second, and the Perseids meteor shower is one of the faster ones, hitting around 60km/s.

What is the Moon phase, and will it affect viewing?

The Moon is in its first quarter stage on 12th August and has set below the horizon at the time the meteor shower peaks. It gives us a good chance to see the meteor shower while it’s peaking.

Something interesting

At its peak, the Perseid meteor shower can be expected to produce a rate of around 100 meteors per hour, but this is under ideal conditions. In WA, you’re only likely to see a handful of meteors per hour, even at the shower’s peak. This is because the meteor shower’s radiant point is very low in the sky.

More reading:

The International Meteor Organization is a great place to discover more about all things meteors. Check out their Meteor Shower Calendar. You might even like to become a member!

You might like to…

Become a citizen scientist and report meteor sightings! If you happen to see a very bright meteor (often referred to as a “fireball”), WA’s Fireballs in the Sky team based at Curtin University would love to know! Report your fireball sighting with the International Meteor Organization.

Where's the Best Place to see a Meteor Shower?

You need a good dark night sky for the best view! Choose an Astrotourism Town destination. Happy meteor hunting!