Perseid meteor shower of 2021 thrills skywatchers

The expected peak of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower overnight on Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 11-12) thrilled amateur astronomers as Earth passed through the debris tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

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In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia.

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

If you take a cool photo of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower let us know! You can send images and comments to

Images, videos and excited comments populated social media platforms as people watched the "shooting star" show, underneath a small crescent moon. You can still catch a good show late Thursday night (Aug. 12) and before dawn on Friday (Aug. 13) — but act quickly!

NASA warns that the next great Perseid meteor shower may not happen until 2024 because sky conditions will not be ideal for the expected 2022 and 2023 peaks. "With a full moon and lower meteor activity during the Perseids' peak in 2022, and a waning crescent high in the sky for 2023, this might be your best chance to do some summer skywatching for a few years," the agency said in a blog post.

Related: Amazing photos of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower

Tyler Leavitt, an amateur astronomer in Las Vegas, sent some pictures to from about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away, where he drove to "get away from the lights," he told in an e-mail. The spectacular result showed Perseid meteors lit up high in the atmosphere, framed by cactuses and a windmill.

"The air near Vegas was actually a bit hazy from the California wildfires," Leavitt said. "As the night went along, I was able to see and capture more meteors. Counted 23 between 2 and 3 am. That seemed to be the maximum I saw in an hour, which was slower (fewer) than other years I've been to the same spot."

Below are some social media shares and comments about the 2021 Perseids.

The next major meteor shower of 2021 will come in October, when the annual Orionid meteor shower lights up the night sky. The Orionids are made up of pieces of Halley's Comet and will peak in 2021 overnight on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, but the full moon on Oct. 20 will likely wash them out. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: