Perseid meteor showers might delight sky-watchers


The Perseid meteor shower should be dazzling Bay Area sky-watchers Sunday night and Monday morning if weather and wildfires don't get in the way.

The meteors are remnants of the Swift-Tuttle comet that have passed through the solar system for the first time since 1992, according to Andrew Fraknoi, an emeritus chair of the astronomy department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills who teaches at the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University.

Fraknoi said that tonight (Aug. 12) and Monday morning are likely to be the best times to watch the meteor shower, although "there could be significantly more meteors in the sky on the night before and the night after too."

The cosmic dust should provide an impressive display for Bay Area residents who are willing to drive a bit of a distance from city lights to witness it, he said.

He provided tips for residents eager to watch it, including finding an area that allows the viewing of as much of the dome of the sky as possible, allowing 10 to 15 minutes for eyes to adjust to the night sky, not using a telescope or binoculars, and wearing warm clothes and having patience.

Fraknoi notes, however, that people may be out of luck if weather conditions bring clouds or fog to the sky.

In addition, smoky skies due to multiple wildfires burning across Northern California in recent weeks may also hinder a view of the meteor shower.

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