The Perseid meteor shower 2014 will peak from Tuesday to Wednesday night. The Perseids occurs annually starting from mid-July to mid-August. The bright intensity of the fireballs as well as the high rate of activity during this time, have made it a spectacular celestial event of the year.
The Perseids gets its name as the meteors appear to have originated from the constellation Perseus and it occurs as huge comet (Swift-Tuttle) pass through the inner solar system every 133 years and leaves behind debris. When Earth and its atmosphere travels through the trail of dust, fragments of comets hit the atmosphere and burn up as flashes of light at a speed of 140 kmph. These burning fragments of comets eventually beautify the night skies.
But this year's Perseids will coincide with a full moon that occurred on Sunday, which will hinder the view of the shooting stars. Although, the bright moon will diminish the number of meteors seen on Tuesday, it is predicting that for the Northern Hemisphere Perseids will occur a rate of 30 to 40 meteors per hour.
If weather permits, the shower should be visible over a huge part of the universe, as shown in the NASA map below:
According to the map, North America, Europe, Asia including India and some parts of Africa will have the best view of the Perseids meteor shower. However, majority parts of South America, some parts of Africa and most of Australia will have considerably low rate of shower.
Perseid meteor shower is best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere. It is recommended for sky-gazers to find a place away from the busy city or street lights, probably a beach side where the sky looks clear. A reclining chair or ground pillow will make it far more comfortable to gaze on the night sky.
In the Northern Hemisphere, star-watchers should face the northeast to find the constellation of Perseus, the region where the meteors appear to come from. Pre-dawn hours, around 3 am to 4 am, should have the highest number of meteoroids.
New York City:
While viewing the best meteor shower of the year in the city of New York, it may appear a difficult talk. However, Upper Manhattan's Inwood Hill Park can offer a treat to the sky-watchers as the sky appears surprisingly dark despite the city limits.
Even Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field and the Highline park provides another option for those looking for a silent and dark spot to view the Perseids.
Viewing the Perseids in Los Angeles, requires the sky watchers to have a quick trip to an observatory. The Griffith Observatory is open to the public on weekdays with public telescopes available.
The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club will host two public viewing events on Saturday. Although, the Perseids will not be at its peak on that day, there will be enough meteors and fireballs to treat stargazers.
Boston too has quite a few observatories that offer public viewing nights. The observatory in Boston University has a open night every Wednesday for the public, while the Museum of Science hosts "Astronomy After Hours" event every Fridays.