The annual Perseid Meteor Shower just hit its peak last night, and since we all can't observe it from a quaint railroad crossing in Alabama, here's what you need to know about viewing it amongst the bright lights of the big city.
The meteor shower will be viewable again between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. overnight tonight... from midway between Manhattan and Staten Island. You've been looking for a reason to check out the borough's foremost Transcendent Tiki Bar Destination anyway, right? Well after you down a few exotic Smirnoff Raz cocktails there, head back to the ferry to soak up the sky show. Michal Simon, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Stony Brook University, says:
"Take the Staten Island Ferry. You’ll be in the middle of the harbor with no bright lights. It’s also a nice romantic thing to do and the city looks beautiful. [If you] go eastward on Long Island, you’ll probably want to go to something like Robert Moses State Park. [You can also take the] Taconic parkway and look for rest areas—few miles north of the city."
If it's romance you're looking for, definitely go with the ferry, which is much more romantic than a rest stop off the Taconic. In fact, driving your date along the dark parkway and into a rest stop area may actually give her the wrong idea (murder).
NASA says rates can get as high as 100 per hour, and note that "for optimal viewing, find an open sky because Perseid meteors come across the sky from all directions. Lie on the ground and look straight up into the dark sky. Again, it is important to be far away from artificial lights. Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt."
Also, as with everything these days, you can just just watch it online from indoors:
Check out some photos already shot from this year's showers here.