With only partly cloudy skies forecast over Ashburn, residents should be able to get a good view of the Perseids meteorshower set to peak this weekend.
The Perseids are a meteor shower visible when the Earth passes through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The meteorshower has been visible for about 2,000 years. The Swift-Tuttle comet orbits once every 133 years, according to NASA.
“The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere,”according to a 2011 NASA release. “Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors appear to radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.”
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday nights is for partly cloudy skies with overnight low temperatures around 70 degrees.
At its peak, the Perseids meteor shower could display up to 40 meteors per hour in the pre-dawn hours Sunday. The American Meteor Society recommends viewing this meteor shower between midnight and dawn Saturday and Sunday.
- Get as far away from city and other artificial lights as possible. Meteor showers are best viewed in really dark skies. Try to keep the moon out of your field of vision, too.
- Be patient. It may take your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the light and see the meteors.
- You don’t need binoculars or a telescope – that will only limit the amount of sky you can see.
The best place to see the Perseids meteor shower in Ashburn might be (Loudoun County parks technically close at dark, but these suggestions are within communities and offer clear views of the sky):
- Ray Muth Park in Ashburn Village
- Bles Park near George Washington University
- If you're really into it and they have availability, Sky Meadows Park in Clarke and Fauquier counties permits overnight stays.
(Do you know of a great location? Share it in the comments section below!)