Speed Reads

Space is cool

The moon could mess up your chances of seeing the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak Friday and Saturday, but stargazers should avoid getting their hopes up too high — the full moon will be a "major obstacle" for viewing the show this year, Space.com reports.

Moonrise on Aug. 11 comes at around 10:20 p.m. local time, while on Aug. 12, it's at around 10:50 p.m. The moon will be hovering below and to the left of the Great Square of Pegasus these nights and not all that far from the constellation Perseus, from where the meteors will appear to emanate (hence the name "Perseid"). Perseus does not begin to climb high up into the northeast sky until around midnight; by dawn, it's nearly overhead. But bright moonlight will flood the sky through most of those two key nights and will certainly play havoc with any serious attempts to observe these meteors. [Space.com]

The lunar light pollution will knock your chances of seeing around 90 meteors an hour down to just 40 or 50, Space.com adds.

There will only be one other promising chance to make wishes on shooting stars this summer — during the Kappa Cygnids shower, which peaks on Aug. 21. But if you can wait until 2018, the Perseid will fall during the dark of a new moon and will be nothing short of spectacular. Read more about the meteor shower at Space.com.