Just because you’re in a heavily populated and polluted city doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this year’s Perseids meteor shower. The Perseids, which come from the constellation Perseus, is one of the most fascinating light shows on the planet caused when Earth passes through dust and debris left behind from Comet Swift Tuttle.
The 2016 Perseids are particularly special because the meteor shower is expected to fall double the normal 50 to 60 meteors per hour, which is something NASA says hasn’t happened since 2009.
Obviously the best place to watch the light show is wherever the darkest skies may be located, like in the suburbs or countryside. But spectators in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago can still catch the meteor shower, too. However, viewers won’t necessarily get to see the shower to the same extent as someone watching from areas with clearer skies outside of the city.
Read on below to find out where to best watch the 2016 Perseids in a few major cities:
New York City: It won’t be easy to catch the Perseids in the city. However, viewers who can get to a nearby park like Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park near the northern end of the island may have a better chance of spotting the meteors as opposed to the top of a city rooftop, even though stargazers may be able to catch a glimpse of the night show from there too.
Brooklyn Bridge Park will host a sky watch from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, while Central Park will also have a sky party on the Great Lawn Friday night. Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, particularly the parade grounds, will also make for a great viewing spot. Although most of the city beaches close no later than 1 a.m., viewers may have a better chance at seeing the meteor shower from the sandy shores if they can get there.
Los Angeles: Because of the smog L.A. is known for (and a waxing gibbous moon that starts Aug. 11) it may be even harder to see the Perseids amongst the Hollywood lights. If you can’t make it out to Joshua Tree, Borrego Springs, Lake Tahoe or Great Basin Nation Park, which have been deemed four of the best places in California to watch the meteor shower, then you can check out a bit of the Perseids at the Los Angeles Astronomical Society’s observing party from 7 to 11 p.m.
Chicago: Although it may require the help of a telescope or binoculars, Chicago residents can catch the Perseids at Cantigny Park during a watch event sponsored by Alder Planetarium. The event is from 6 p.m. to midnight and visitors have to purchase tickets that range from $9 to $15.