The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Over Rockford Next Week
If it seems as though it was only a week or so back that Rockford was treated to not one, but two meteor showers going on at the same time, it's because it was only a week or so back.
But, like a good announcer on a TV infomercial, I must add these words: Wait, there's more! Even better, it looks as though the atmospherics for the peaking of the Perseid Meteor Showers are going to be optimum for viewing in the Rockford area.
According to a bunch of sky-watching websites I visited, the Perseids are pretty much the gold standard of meteor showers. The Perseids have been visible since mid-July, but the best show will be happening next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings.
Every year, Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 to Aug. 24, with the shower's peak — when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area — occurring Aug. 11-13. That means you'll see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time near that time. Years without moonlight see higher rates of meteors per hour, and in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour.
Here's the good news for those who are into a good sky show. With the peak of the Perseids coming up on August 12th, viewing will be made even better because August 8th means a new moon. Skies will be much darker, making it far easier to pick up the meteors.
So what's the best time for viewing the Perseids in and around Rockford? EarthSky.org says the later (in other words, earlier in the morning) the better:
Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight. The shower typically produces the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.