Your guide to watching the Perseids meteor shower despite this week's supermoon

·2 min read

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Soapstone Prairie Natural Area as a skygazing spot. While Soapstone Prairie Natural Area hosts an annual skygazing event, it is not generally open to the public at night.

A popular meteor shower is set to peak this week, but something else is stealing its spotlight.

The Perseids, a meteor shower that's visible for several weeks every summer and typically peaks around Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, will be far less detectable this year as it coincides with both a "sturgeon moon" and "supermoon."

The moon reached peak illumination Thursday night, according to USA Today, but will remain bright enough over Friday and Saturday to obstruct visibility of the Perseids' fainter meteors.

While viewers of the Perseids can typically see 50 to 100 meteors in the sky, this year they might only be able to spot about 10 or 20, according to Greg Halac of the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society.

What is a supermoon?Sturgeon moon and supermoon light up night sky

Because of this, Halac said the society won't be hosting any special events or meteor shower viewings like they've done in years past.

"Expectations are low," Halac said.

Where to try to spot the Perseids meteor shower, go stargazing in the Fort Collins area

If you still want to give it a shot, Halac recommended scouting out a viewing spot that has an unobstructed view of the sky and is at least a little outside of town. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is a favorite among the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society, Halac said.

Other popular star and sky gazing spots include Red Mountain Open Space, Coyote Ridge Natural Area, the stargazer Observatory at Observatory Village in southeast Fort Collins and the Sunlight Peak Observatory at Front Range Community College.

Eyes to the skies5 popular stargazing spots near Fort Collins

"Get away from street lights, bright things ..." Halac said. "You want your eyes to be sensitive to faint things."

If you're taking in the vast night sky with no luck, train your gaze to the northeast sky, where the Perseids will be coming from, Halac said.

What not to do on when looking for the Perseids meteor shower

While it might sound tempting, don't bring any special gear on your hunt for the Perseids. Instead of trying to use telescopes or binoculars, "unaided eyes take in the most sky," Halac said.

There is, however, one piece of equipment Halac recommends: a lawn chair. "Get to a fairly open area away from bright lights, sit in a lawn chair and look up," he said.

When is the best time to spot the Perseids meteor shower?

While you can try to spot some of the meteors earlier in the night, your best bet for catching them is waiting until after midnight, Halac said.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Here's where to see the Perseids meteor shower in Fort Collins