The popular Perseid meteor shower will peak Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning, with 50 to 75 shooting stars visible per hour.
According to the American Meteor Society, there will be a half-moon on Aug. 11 as well. The Perseid meteor shower started to be visible in the northern hemisphere in mid-July and will no longer be visible at the end of August as the Earth rotates away from the fragments.
The Perseids are pieces of a comet, 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which broke up and set off a trail of fragments during one of its trips to the inner solar system. The meteors are visible every year in August when the northern hemisphere passes through the path of the fragments, said Jim Andrus, a Cortez weather spotter with the National Weather Service.
“The fragments are still following the same trail, some in our atmosphere,” Andrus said.
The meteors move at 37 miles per second, according to the American Meteor Society.
Dark locations without streetlights provide the best chance for seeing the shower, such as Mesa Verde National Park. Chimney Rock National Monument is another beautiful backdrop for stargazing.
“There should be good conditions for viewing the meteor shower,” said Megan Stackhouse with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. With continued dry conditions, skies should be mostly clear, she said.
However, temperatures are expected to drop to the upper 40s or low 50s, so stargazers might want to bundle up, she said.