The Perseid meteor shower, also known as the Perseids, is one of the biggest summer celestial phenomena of the year. Scheduled to reach peak illumination between 11 and 13 August in 2023, the Perseids meteor shower will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere and partly in the mid-Southern regions, including Singapore.

The meteor shower is more significant this year as the moon will be in the crescent phase with just 10 per cent illumination, aiding better visibility. This will make it easier for stargazers to witness the event. Known to be long-lasting and extremely bright, here is all you need to know about the Perseids.

What is the Perseid meteor shower?

perseids meteor shower 2023 singapore watch
Image credit: Austin Human/Unsplash

The Perseids is a spectacular show of meteors that usually lasts longer than other showers. The highest recorded activity count is over 100 meteors per hour with a 59 km per second velocity, according to NASA.

This phenomenon — active since 14 July and visible until 1 September — reaches its peak only in mid-August. Originating from the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, the meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus, from where it appears to radiate.

According to the Science Centre Observatory on Tuesday (Aug 8), the Perseids occur every year between mid-July and late August.

Why do we see a spectacular explosion of fireballs during this meteor shower?

shooting stars
Image: Courtesy of Arman Alcordo Jr

The comet Swift-Tuttle takes around 133 years to orbit the Sun. During this journey, it leaves a debris trail, comprising bits of comet particles and pieces of broken asteroids. When the Earth crosses this path, the debris collides with its atmosphere, creating brilliant streaks of light.

This usually happens in the July to September period. Last seen from Earth in 1992, the comet will be next seen in 2126.

Viewing tips to witness the meteors

Image: Courtesy of Raman Deep/Unsplash

While you do not need a telescope or other fancy gadgets to catch the Perseids, you should adequately prepare to view meteor showers.

It is essential to find a spot in the night sky far away from the blinding city lights, which is calm and close to nature. Clear skies and dim moonlight are the ideal conditions to catch the Perseid shower in its full glory. Carry a sleeping bag, compass and blanket, camp away from the crowd and lie flat on your back. As your eyes get used to the darkness after 20 to 30 minutes, you can witness the magic of this meteor shower.

The precise peak this year is predicted to occur at 04:00 Universal Time on 13 August 2023, Sunday, which translate as:

  • 12 am. EDT on 13 August
  • 11 pm. CDT on 12 August
  • 9 pm. EDT on 12 August
  • 10 pm. MDT on 12 August
  • 8 pm. PDT on 12 August

Consult a sky map app to identify the direction of the radiant point of the meteor, which should be near the Perseus constellation. Face that direction to enjoy the show. It’s believed that 2023 will be a good year for the Perseid meteor shower as the moon will only be 10 percent illuminated.

Perseid meteor shower 2023: Where to watch in Singapore

perseid meteor shower 2023 singapore best places where to watch when peak time perseids
Image credit: Tengyart/Unsplash

Most visible in the Northern Hemisphere, people from parts of South and North America, the whole of Europe and major parts of Asia and Africa will be able to view the Perseids, including Singapore.

However, the city’s viewing conditions can make it hard to spot the celestial event. If you don’t want to miss out on the meteor showers again, the best time to attempt to catch a glimpse in Singapore would be on 13 August at around 4 am SGT, when the constellation would be high enough above the horizon.

To prevent light pollution in Singapore from marring the experience, the best locations to view the Perseid meteor shower in 2023 include open areas such as beaches, nature parks, and reservoirs, according to the Science Centre Observatory.

One of the most important tips, however, is to avoid looking at your smartphone or any other sources of white light, as it will hamper with your night vision. Use red light only if necessary.

What and when is the next major meteor shower?

The next major meteor shower visible in Singapore will be the Geminids in December. It’s touted to be the biggest and most spectacular meteor shower, and is named after the Gemini constellation.

Where else around the world can you catch a glimpse of the Perseids?

perseid meteor shower 2023 singapore usa uk best places where to watch when peak times dark sky reserve
Image credit: Nick Iliasov/Unsplash

Ladakh, India

A hub for trekkers across the country, the quaint landscape of Ladakh dotted with snow-capped mountains is ideal for observing the night sky.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

The azure skies of Neil Island are great for viewing the Perseid meteor shower in this relatively untouched landscape. Additionally, you can catch a shooting star, a twinkling planet, or even a faraway constellation if you’re carrying your telescope.

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand

The latest to be certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is this stunning 3,665 square-kilometer reserve in New Zealand. Most of the Reserve is easily accessible to the public by foot, bike, or motor vehicle for night sky viewing every night.

Snowdonia, Wales, UK

The first national park in the country, the 827-square-mile area is a popular trekking haunt by day, and stunning star-gazing spot by night. Llyn y Dywarchen, located above the village of Drws y Coed in Dyffryn Nantlle, offers one of the best night skies with minimal light pollution, as does Llyn Geirionnydd and Llynnau Cregennen in the country.

South Downs, UK

South Downs might be one of the UK’s newest national parks, but it’s already been crowned one of its newest Dark Sky Reserves. Better yet, it’s also one of the most accessible dark sky areas in the world. To watch the Perseid meteor shower in 2023, head to Butser Hill, Iping Common, Bignor Hill, or Devil’s Dyke. There’s also the Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium there if you don’t fancy being outdoors.

Springdale, Utah, USA

Located within Zion Canyon, at the gateway to Zion National Park, the Town of Springdale is relatively far from large metropolitan areas, which means minimal light pollution. Outdoor lighting from the town is also minimal, and must be downward-facing and shielded if used to keep the star-gazing experience at its peak.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What is the best time to see the Perseids meteor shower?

The nights of 12 and 13 August are the best time to catch the meteor shower. Since the peak timing of the meteor shower falls in the afternoon for India, you can watch these bright shooting stars in the wee hours of 13 August right before dawn.

Which direction should I see to catch the meteor shower?

Meteors can generally be seen all over the sky. Use a sky map app to identify and face the direction of the radiant of the meteor, which should be near the Perseus constellation.

What are Perseid meteors?

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the major summer showers. In 2023, it will reach peak illumination on 11,12 and 13 August. It will be the easiest to spot at 3:58 am EDT.

How rare is the Perseid meteor shower?

This is not a rare meteor shower as it occurs every summer. But it is one of the brightest and can be viewed with the naked eye.

(Hero and featured image: Michał Mancewicz/Unsplash; Alexandre Andrews/Unsplash)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore

written by.

Preeti Kulkarni

After completing her PG in New Media from the Asian College of Journalism, Preeti has worked in a daily and a magazine before finding her calling in digital journalism. A lover of single malts and an avid pop culture junkie, you can catch her at the movies on weekends or binge-watching the latest shows on OTT when she is not busy preparing her toddler for his Hogwarts letter.
How To Watch The Perseid Meteor Shower In Singapore
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