Right now, the stunning Perseid meteor shower is in full swing, and astronomers estimate that tonight the shower will reach its peak, where viewers can see as many as 100 meteors an hour!
This will likely be the best meteor shower of the year, so if you’re into watching hundreds of falling stars in a single night, then you won’t want to miss it.
To see it, you have to find the right time and place, and several apps can help.
Here’s a list of our top picks.
App: Dark Sky meter App (Buy it for iOS here.)
When it comes to watching meteor showers, you want to get find the darkest skies possible. Fortunately, there's a new moon tonight, which means the sky will be empty of moonlight and therefore extra dark to spot the meteors.
Dark Sky meter gives you instant information about the viewing quality of the skies in your area, which includes not only how dark the sky is but also if there are any pesky clouds in the way.
APP: Star Chart (Get it for Android here.)
Each meteor shower is named for the constellation from where the meteors seem to appear in the night sky. The Perseid meteor showers, therefore, appear to come from the constellation Perseus, named for the Greek mythological hero.
So, if you direct your gaze toward the Perseis constellation, you should have a great show. Star Chart can help you find where the Perseus constellation -- as well as any other constellation -- is in your night sky at any given time.
App: Meteor Shower Calendar (Get for Android and iOS here.)
This handy calendar lets you know when a meteor shower is coming up. It will even tell you when the shower stars, when it peaks, and when it ends. It will even tell you the phase of the moon so you know how dark the night sky will be at optimal viewing time.
The Perseid meteor shower takes place from the end of July through most of August, but the best time to watch, when astronomers estimate you can see as many as 100 meteors an hour, will be in the wee hours of the morning, beginning at 4 am ET on Thursday, Aug. 13, according to Universe Today.
App: Dark Sky (Get it for iOS here.)
The weather is always changing. You could be enjoying the Perseid meteor shower one minute and the next a wave of thick rain clouds could roll in and obstruct your view.
You can help prevent this by using arguably one of the best weather Apps out there, Dark Sky. It will let you know when it will rain up to an hour in advacne and can give you minute-by-minute weather predictions for the next hour.
App: Telescope HD (Get it for Android here.)
Telescope HD uses your smartphone camera like a telescope, zooming in on night sky objects like the Moon, planets, and stars.
This might not be the best tool to watch a meteor shower with -- since meteors only light up for a fraction of a second -- but since you're outside you might as well enjoy the other beauty the cosmos has to offer.
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