A reminder to those of you interested in astronomy and astrophotography that over the next few days we will be seeing the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The actual peak is expected to be on Tuesday, but they are still impressive in the days leading up to it. Unfortunately this week is also the supermoon, which will cause extra light pollution of the sky but hopefully won't completely obscure the meteor shower.

I am fortunate this year to be spending the week at a private dark site far away from city lights, so hopefully (if the weather holds and if the supermoon is not too overwhelming) I will be able to provide some good photographs when I return. 

The Perseids are an annual meteor shower, formed by the debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years this comet passes through our solar system, and leaves behind a cloud of dust and small rocks. Each year from mid-July to mid-August, the Earth passes through this debris field and collides with many of the small rocks. When a rock hits the atmosphere, the friction with the air causes it to heat up and burn brightly, appearing to observers to be shooting stars. And since the meteors look to observers to be travelling radially away from the Perseus constellation, they are named the Perseids or "sons-of-Perseus" (although in reality they have no connection to Perseus, and this is just an illusion).

When the skies are clear and the light pollution is minimal, viewers can expect to see as many as seventy events per hour, primarily in the northern hemisphere. The best time should be in the pre-dawn hours, but they should be visible through most of the night.

So hopefully the viewing conditions are good, and we get an amazing display this year!