What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird; it’s a plane… it’s a meteor shower! The cosmos are full of incredible sites, and it’s an extra special treat when we can see these heavenly happenings from here in our backyard. Within the next few days, the Perseid meteor shower will be in view, with the peak occurring between August 11th and August 13th. To prepare for the meteor shower, the New Jersey State Museum is here with all the knowledge you need to take advantage of this dazzling display.

On Saturday, August 5th, join the New Jersey State Museum to dive deep inside the Perseid meteor shower. The event will occur from 5 pm to 6 pm at the NJ State Museum’s Planetarium at 205 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608. Throughout the evening, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about meteor showers, the comets that cause them, how to observe meteor shows, and what to expect from the Perseids. This event is entirely free to attend, although seating is limited. As seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, please plan on coming approximately 10-15 minutes to secure your spot.

So what is the Perseid meteor shower? The Perseids are an annual meteor shower typically active from mid-July through August. It has been noted that this year is expected to be particularly good for the Perseids, as the moon will only be 10% illuminated. Meteor showers occur as the earth passes through debris, creating a shooting star-like effect for us on this side of the stratosphere. The peak of this year’s display is expected to occur in mid-August, so this talk comes just in time to know what to look out for! Viewers can expect to see about 100 meteors when viewing the shower, so this is a beautiful chance to see the night sky come to life!

Where is the best place to view the Perseids in the Garden State? If you want to take a road trip to another beautiful corner of New Jersey, some of the best places to view the meteor shower in the state include:

  • The Pines Barrens
  • Island Beach State Park
  • The Delaware Bayshore

If you want to stay closer to home, the most crucial element to look for is a dark sky area with minimal light pollution. Spaces with open views are also a plus, so try to avoid areas with obstructions like buildings or a forest. For these purposes, parks are a great place to watch the display. It would be best to face north or northeast to get the best vantage point when looking for meteors. Ultimately, however, wherever you are, take a peak at the night sky because you might be surprised at what you find!

If you have any questions before the event, please get in touch with the New Jersey State Museum at info.njsm@sos.nj.gov or (609) 292-6464 for additional details. This incredible marvel only happens once a year, so be sure to point those eyes to the skies!

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