Perseid Meteor Shower 2019 Dazzles Skywatchers Despite a Bright Moon

A bright-pink Perseid meteor shines above an old shipwreck on the coast of New Jersey in this photo by Jeff Berkes. He captured this photo early Sunday morning (Aug. 11), or about two days before the peak of the meteor shower.  (Image credit: Jeff Berkes)

Viewing prospects for this year's Perseid meteor shower were not ideal, but that didn't stop the annual "shooting star" display from putting on a great show!

The annual Perseid meteor shower typically runs from mid-July to the end of August and peaks overnight on Aug. 12-13. This year, bright light from the waxing gibbous moon was expected to drown out fainter meteors, leading to less visible meteors in the night sky. 

On an average year, the Perseids produce about 60 visible meteors per hour, depending on the amount of light pollution at a skywatcher's location. However, with the nearly-full moon lighting up the sky for most of the night, skywatchers reported seeing only 10-15 meteors per hour during the meteor shower's peak this year. But that didn't stop astrophotographers from capturing some amazing photos and videos of the Perseids — including some bright fireballs

Gallery: More Amazing Perseid Meteor Shower 2019 Photos

The American Meteor Society (AMS), which runs a network of cameras across the United States, captured a bright fireball from six different all-sky cameras stationed along the central East Coast. In the video above, you can watch the meteor explode as it passes through Earth's atmosphere. 

AMS members Ed Abel Mathias (West Virginia), Mike Hankey (Maryland), Peter Deterline (Pennsylvania) and Elizabeth Warner (University of Maryland) contributed their images to this compilation of the fireball.  

Fireballs are exceptionally bright meteors that shine about as bright as the planet Venus in the night sky. The Perseid meteor shower typically produces more fireballs than any other annual meteor shower. 

A bright Perseid meteor dashes across the sky above a wildfire near the village of Velmej in Macedonia in this photo by astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski.  (Image credit: Stojan Stojanovski)

Across the Atlantic in Macedonia, astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski captured a breathtaking view of a Perseid meteor above a blazing wildfire on a mountainside. 

Although the bright moonlight meant that he couldn't see as many meteors, the natural light lit up the mountain, allowing him to capture  both the sky above and the ground below in detail. Stojanovski said he waited about 3 hours to capture a meteor above the burning mountain and saw about 10-15 meteors per hour in all. 

To capture the photo above, Stojanovski used a Canon 5D Mark IV digital camera with a 16mm lens. 

This composite view by astrophotographer Stojan Stojanovski shows many Perseid meteors captured by a fish-eye all sky camera over time on Aug. 12 and 13 for the 2019 meteor shower. (Image credit: Stojan Stojanovski)

During that same photo shoot, Stojanovski switched to his Canon 6D and an 8mm fisheye lens to capture this "all-sky" composite of several Perseid meteors above the wildfire. 

In the photo, a ring of smoke appears to circle around the meteor-filled sky. The Milky Way is also faintly visible in this view. 

Astrophotographer Tony Corso captured this photo of a Perseid meteor from his home just outside Paris, Texas early Monday morning (Aug. 12).  (Image credit: Tony Corso)

Near Paris, Texas, astrophotographer Tony Corso captured this stunning image of a Perseid meteor streaking through a starry sky above a barn near his home. If you look closely, you'll see the pinkish-orange meteor has a faint green tail. 

The color of a meteor, or "shooting star," depends on its chemical composition. For the Perseids, the pink and green hues can be attributed to elements like calcium, sodium, magnesium, silicon and iron. As a meteor heats up in the atmosphere, these elements ionize and give off a bright glow. 

(Image credit: Jeff Berkes)

In the photo above, taken near the East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville, New Jersey, a meteor appears to skewer a star in the top left corner. 

However, that bright light is not really a star, astrophotographer Jeff Berkes told Rather, the meteor "exploded at that point and made it look like a star," he said. "The images before and after that one does not have it in there! So crazy!"

Related: Perseid Meteor Shower 2019: When, Where & How to See It 

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.