A bright and beautiful “supermoon” may make it harder to see an annual meteor shower famed for lighting up the night skies. But hope for seeing them both isn’t lost.
The Perseids meteor shower will appear in our nighttime skies on Aug. 10 and last through the Aug. 13.
This year, just as Perseids are set to peak, the moon will become full as it reaches the place in its orbit closest to Earth, making it a supermoon.
The supermoon will be as much as 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter than the other full moons of the year.
According to NASA’s Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office, the supermoon could be bad news for astronomers hoping to watch Perseids. “Lunar glare wipes out the black-velvety backdrop required to see faint meteors.”
But if you want to see the show, there’s still some good news.
The debris stream of meteors is broad, and it may be possible to see Perseids before Aug. 10. Also, since these meteors are so bright, it could be a special chance to catch an occasional fireball cutting past a supermoon.
NASA says that since 2008, the Perseids have produced more fireballs than any other annual meteor shower.
It will be easiest to see the meteor shower, which produces up to 100 shooting stars an hour, around 2 a.m. on Aug. 10.
The National Weather Service has forecasted mostly clear skies for Sunday night.