The Perseid meteor shower will be visible this weekend (Aug. 11-13). Astronomers are anticipating the Perseid shower being the best of the year, forecasting rates as high as 100 meteors per hour. They’ll be visible through the night, but viewing will be at its best in the hours before dawn.
NASA points out that this shower will be particularly interesting thanks to appearances from Venus, Jupiter, and the crescent moon.
“On August 11th, a 33% crescent Moon will glide by Jupiter, temporarily forming a bright pair directly above brilliant Venus. Red-giant star Aldebaran will be there, too, adding a splash of color to the gathering. On August 12th, the narrowing 24% crescent Moon will drop down between Jupiter and Venus. Together they make a bright 3-point line in the sky, frequently bisected by shooting stars. On August 13th, with the shower just beginning to wane, the planets put on their best show yet: The 17% crescent moon will pass less than 3 degrees from Venus as Jupiter hovers overhead. Sky watchers say there’s nothing prettier than a close encounter between the slender crescent Moon and Venus–nothing, that is, except for the crescent Moon, Venus and a flurry of Perseids.”