Categorized | Featured, Sci-Tech

Perseids meteor shower (Aug 12 & 13)

(Image courtesy of Gerrit van der Plas)

Gerrit van der Plas | Special to Hawaii 24/7

This weekend, you can enjoy one of the best meteor showers of the year, and Hawaii turns out to be a great place to watch them.

The Perseids are one of the most reliable meteor showers, and each year you can expect to see at least 60 shooting stars per hour during the peak under good viewing conditions.

This year, Hawaii is perfectly placed to watch the Perseids because peak activity is expected during the whole night between Saturday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 12, and because the moon is very faint and only raises early in the morning (around 2 a.m.)

Perseids Hawaii viewing tips

The hours between midnight and moonrise very early on Aug. 12 (Saturday night) are the best time to see the Perseids, but you will be able to see shooting stars that whole night, and even the night before and after Aug. 12.

The Perseids seem to come from the constellation Perseus, but you can see shooting stars in the whole sky. You can best direct your gaze to the north-east and try to observe an as broad part of the sky as possible.

Find a dark spot, sit back, relax and let your eyes get used to the darkness. within 10 minutes you should start to see shooting stars.

For meteor shower viewing tips tailored to Hawaii, visit:

The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes by a trail of dust, gas and ice left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. This comet was first documented in 1862, and returns to the sun every 130 years (the next time it will be visible will be in 2122).

The earliest recorded sighting of Perseids dates back to 36 AD, when mention was made of “more than 100 meteors” in Chinese annals.

The Perseids are also referred as the “Tears of St. Lawrence”, because the festival of this saint is very close (Aug. 10) to the peak of the Perseids.

The story of Laurentius, a Christian deacon, is the following: Laurentius was martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove.

It was in the midst of this torture that Laurentius cried out: ‘I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other.’

In honor of this history, one very appropriate midnight-snack to take out is the typically Hawaiian “Huli-Huli” turn-turn in Hawaiian) Chicken.

(Gerrit van der Plas is a frequent visitor to the Big Island and writes for, which promotes sustainable tourism and has a special focus on astronomical events on Hawaii.)

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