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Annual Perseid meteor shower likely to be dampened by supermoon in Sacramento region

A 'supermoon' will restrict viewing, but locals still have opportunities to witness the spectacular event


The Perseid meteor shower peaks late this week. 

The event peaks August 12 through 13, but conditions will be less than favorable for viewing. The problem this year is that peak viewing will be restricted by a full moon illuminating the sky. Not only is it a full moon, but it's the fourth and final supermoon of 2022. 

On a moon-free night, viewers can expect to see approximately 90 meteors or more an hour. NASA declares that numbers will reduce drastically due to the moon, reaching 10 to 20 meteors per hour at most. 

The Perseid showers are renowned as the highlight of the meteor season annually. The showers are the result of debris from the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet entering Earth's atmosphere and burning up.

While the show won’t be as spectacular, it will still be possible to witness the event. When conditions aren't favorable, it's important to maximize your chances. 

Earthsky.org has a map that highlights some of the region's best viewing spots. Most of these spots are in the mountains, away from the light pollution and haze in the valley. 

With moonrise at 9:03 p.m. and moonset at 6:47 a.m. on Aug. 12 in Sacramento, sky-watchers will have to contend with the bright lights of the supermoon all night. Generally, peak Perseid viewing is in the early morning hours between 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., but viewing anytime after the stars come out will still yield above-average meteor viewing.

Temperatures are forecast to dip into the low 60's in Sacramento and the lower 50s in the Sierras. Cloud cover should be limited as well, leaving only the moon to contend with.

Even though conditions aren't the best, if you're up late at night, it may be worth it to take a peek. Experts recommend viewing for at least an hour due to the general variability of such events.



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