The cosmos will be putting on quite a show tonight, and there are plenty of seats in the house.
The Perseid Meteor Shower is a prolific meteor shower visible each year around mid-August, with peak activity this year occurring between Aug. 11 and 14. The most action will take place around midnight Wednesday, Aug. 12, and into Thursday morning.
During the peak, the rate of visible meteors reaches 50 or more per hour. They can be seen from anywhere, but visibility is best in the northern hemisphere.
The Custer Institute in Southold, Long Island’s oldest public observatory, won’t be open to the public tonight, be it will be open on Saturday, Aug. 15. That night, you can grab a blanket and a beach chair, park yourself on the lawn and look up. Custer staff will provide guided tours of the sky and some meteors may still be visible.
You can watch the sky at Orient Beach State Park and Wildwood State Park in Wading River if you have a stargazing permit. Some New York State parks, however, will be open late to allow for public viewing of the shower.
Up-island parks that will be open include Jones Beach Park West End II and Gov. Alfred Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park Field 3, as well as Montauk Point State Park Upper Lot. There will be no charge Wednesday night at those parks and the normal stargazing permit will not be required. Spectators, however, must remain in their vehicles.
It’s expected to be a good show, according to the Custer Institute.
“Fortunately the waning crescent moon comes up shortly before sunrise, so you’re guaranteed of dark skies for this year’s Perseid meteor shower,” the organization states on its website. Clear skies are predicated for this evening.
Custer recommends heading out to Orient for the best views. You do not need special equipment to enjoy the show.