How to view a meteor shower



A shooting star from the Leonids meteor storm flies over Chesapeake, VA.

Meteor showers and shooting stars are sometimes hard to see, so it is beneficial to know when, how and where to watch.

“You do not want to use anything, when you go out and watch a meteor shower you want to just go out. Dress warm, bring a beach chair if you are going to watch it at the beach, blankets, some hot chocolate, and bring a friend because it gets boring; it’s like waiting for a fish when you go fishing so you really want someone to talk to,” said Michelle Bailey-Hennessey, astronomy teacher.

According to, depending on the meteor storm near the peak, there is anywhere from three to 75 shooting stars per hour.

“I try to go early in the morning on the weekends when I can and I’m excited for the Geminids which will happen from Dec. 13-14,” said freshman Nisheel Patel.

According to, the best time to view shooting stars can range from 10 p.m. to midnight or midnight to about 4 a.m., but it depends on the meteor shower.

“My favorite time of the year to look for shooting stars is in the summer because it is the perfect temperature, and I don’t have to worry about school,” said sophomore Shaun Van Deusen.

According to NASA, each year approximately 30 meteor storms hit, but that can vary if the storms are annual.

“There are certain times for different storms, and the best storm to watch is the geminids, and that is in December. The reason why it is the best is because it produces the most shooting stars because of the material we pass through, but the one that is most popular with people is the perseids, and that was in July because more people are out when it is warmer. December is much colder, so it just depends when you want to participate,” said Bailey-Hennessey.

According to NASA, the best way to view a meteor shower is to make sure it is 20 to 30 miles away from concentrated lights because light pollution ruins the view. In addition, it is helpful to find an open field with no trees to block the view.

“I always tell my kids if you go out and watch from your house, it is better than watching from anywhere at all. Going to the beach can be helpful because you are always looking east and up and even with the lights at the beach you still have a dark sky over the ocean,” said Bailey-Hennessey. “If you go to Sandbridge, it’s even better because there is even darker skies there, or you can head out to Pungo, but to be honest, you want to be in a place where there is no light pollution to have the best experience.”