Don't miss what NASA is calling the 'best meteor shower of the year.' The Perseids will light up the Central New York sky in July and August but you'll want to catch it at its peak.

The Perseids are active from July 14 to August 24 but will peak during mid-August. "With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long 'wakes' of light and color behind them as they streak through Earth's atmosphere," according to NASA. "The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers with 50-100 meteors seen per hour, and occur with warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view them."

Not only can you see the most plentiful showers, the Perseids are also known for their fireballs; larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak. "This is due to the fact that fireballs originate from larger particles of cometary material. Fireballs are also brighter, with apparent magnitudes greater than -3."

The best time to view the Perseids is during the pre-dawn hours. You may be able to see meteor showers as early as 10 PM.

In June, if you were up early enough, you may have caught the picturesque partial solar eclipse. The sun came up over the Northeast looking like a crescent Moon. A little farther north, in Ontario, Canada a “ring of fire” eclipse, where the Moon slips perfectly across the Sun to leave a ring or annulus around the Moon, could be seen.

A sunrise coinciding with the peak of a solar eclipse is a rather rare occurrence. It has only happened twice in New York in the last 150 years - September 1875 and October 1959.

Rare Picturesque Partial Sunrise Eclipse Over Central New York

If you missed the rare sunrise eclipse, take a look a stunning photos from around Central New York.

In December 2020, a woman captured a meteor/fireball on video.

Bekka Gunner of Untamed Adventure Dogs was mushing along the Erie Canal in Buffalo and was lucky enough to catch it streaking across the sky. "I have chills. Talk about cosmic energy. What are the chances of seeing this let alone getting it on video," she shared on Facebook.

Photo Credit - Bekka Gunner
Photo Credit - Bekka Gunner

Northern Lights Light Up Old Forge Sky

It's not really common to see northern lights in Central New York, but photographer Kurt Gardner captured the beautiful conformation of them near Old Forge. We're usually too far south of the North Pole, but sometimes we get lucky.
Auroras are caused by the Sun. The Sun is not only hot and bright, but it's also full of energy and small particles that fall toward Earth. NASA says the protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.
The amount of energy the Sun sends, depends on the streaming solar wind and solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the Sun expels a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.
When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles into Earth's atmosphere. There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. [NASA]

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