Watch Perseid Meteor Shower 2022 Tonight Before Supermoon Ruins the Show

The annual Perseids meteor shower, which began in mid-July and will continue until late August, is expected to peak during the predawn hours of August 11 to 13.

During a regular year, at the peak of the Perseids, stargazers will have a chance to spot up to 60 to 100 meteors per hour. However, because the 2022 peak coincides with a supermoon, visibility during the peak times could be limited.

The shower of shooting stars, so-called because they appear to be coming from the constellation of Perseus, is caused by the Earth passing through the trail of dust and debris left behind in the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet last passed by Earth in 1992 and orbits the sun once every 133 years.

As it warms up in the sun's heat, the comet leaves a trail of dust, which the Earth passes through in its orbit of the sun during July and August. As the dust particles, most measuring only one-fifth of an inch, enter the Earth's atmosphere, they burn up and cause the spectacular light show.

Meteor shower
The Perseids meteor shower (not pictured), expected to peak on August 12, will be outshone by the glare of the coinciding supermoon. iStock/Getty Images Plus

However, the unfortunate timing of the supermoon means that the 2022 Perseids peak won't be quite as wonderful, as the moon's glare will outshine the meteors.

"Unfortunately, this year the peak of the meteor shower on Friday night, when you can expect to see the most meteors per hour, coincides with a full moon," Jen Gupta, senior public engagement and outreach fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth, told Newsweek.

"When there's a full moon, you essentially get natural light pollution—the moonlight makes the sky brighter, which will mean that you can't see any of the fainter meteors," she continued.

"On top of this, August's full moon is what is often called a supermoon, where the moon is at or near to its closest point to the Earth due to its elliptical orbit. A supermoon is brighter than an average full moon, so the conditions for meteor spotting will be even worse this year," Gupta said.

The sky as a whole is about 40 times brighter during a full moon than it is during a new moon, according to Brad Gibson, director of the E.A. Milne Center for Astrophysics at the University of Hull.

"That bright background means that instead of seeing a meteor/shooting star every minute or two, it will likely be more like once every 10 to 20 minutes that you'll see one, as that is roughly how long one has to wait for a really bright one to appear—one that can essentially outshine the bright sky background," he told Newsweek.

It has been suggested that the best night to see meteors this year will be Tuesday, leading some livestreams, including that of the Virtual Telescope Project, to begin earlier than planned. Still, nobody quite knows when the shower will be most active and most visible.

"The post-midnight through to the early hours of the morning of August 12 and 13 will still be the best time," Gibson said.

Gupta, however, disagrees.

"By definition, a full moon will rise when the sun sets and set when the sun rises, so the moon will be in the sky for the entire night on Friday when the meteor shower peaks," she said. "However, the Perseid meteor shower has actually already started, so you might be able to spot some if you go out over the next few nights. The moon will still be in the sky for most of the night, though, so don't expect to see too many."