A popular meteor shower is passing by SC this week. Here’s when and how to see it


South Carolina residents have a good chance of seeing shooting stars on Thursday and Friday, if they take a few simple steps.

The popular Perseid meteor shower has been underway across the northern hemisphere since July, however, its peak viewing days will be on Thursday and Friday, according to the American Meteor Society.

The meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through the trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Spectators have the chance to see 100 meteors per hour when the shower is at its peak.

When watching a meteor shower, you’re seeing pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest known object to repeatedly pass by the Earth. It will pass near the Earth again in 2126.

The best time to watch

You’ll be able to see the meteor shower at its brightest and most numerous late at night or in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday and Friday.

Go to the darkest possible location with little to no artificial light, bring a lounge chair and lean back. Telescopes and binoculars are not needed. Instead, you just need some patience — wait about 30 minutes or so — for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

How to find the meteor shower

To see the meteors, look up toward the north. The best way to find the Perseid meteor shower is to look for the point in the sky where they appear to originate. According to NASA, the Perseid’s origin spot, referred to as the radiant, is in the Perseus Constellation. The meteor shower gets its name from where it radiates.