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Monday, August 7, 2023

Perseids Meteor Shower 2023

The peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower will occur on the nights of August 12 and August 13, 2023. The predicted peak is between the hours of 10:00AM IDT - 5:00PM IDT on August 13, daylight hours in Israel. So the night of Saturday August 12 and Sunday August 13 are equally good for peak observing.

For people who can't make it on peak nights I always am asked what will the shower look like on nights either side of the peak. The Perseids has a very sharp peak on a single night of 100 meteors per hour. On nights off peak the rate quickly drops to 1/10th that, around 10 meteors per hour. (See graph below.)

The x-axis shows dates of the month, the y-axis shows zenithal hourly rate (ZHR), which is the theoretical maximum number of meteors you can see per hour lying on the ground, staring straight up, and looking in all directions simultaneously. This chart gives the average numbers from 2014-2020. As you can see, the numbers fall off rapidly away from the peak. Nevertheless, experience shows that the Perseids do not disappoint around 5 days before and 5 days after the peak, while not putting on as good a show as the peak night.

Best viewing is always after midnight, and this year there is a very tiny, waning crescent moon rising at 2:00AM on the 12th and about an hour later on each succeeding night, so it will not pose a problem.

The Perseids has become a phenomenon and this year there are many programs, star parties, and star shows in and around Mitzpe Ramon. As they are mostly in Hebrew search for them on social media in that language or search engines in that language.

I will have my own star tours the week before and after the peak, but not on the night of the peak,  August 12. In past years over 30,000 people have descended on Mitzpe Ramon for the peak night. Traffic can be jammed up on Rt 40 all the way back to Be'er Sheva. So, check Waze before heading down to see what your drive time will be. Because of all the people, cars, noise, camp fires in and around town I choose not to go out on the night of the 12th. I will be having my star tours on all other nights except Shabbat. To get information and book a tour: 

If you do not already have accomodations reserved you will probably find them all sold out. Check for them on this web site at the Places To Stay tab.


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