This is a composite image of meteors captured from the San Diego area between 8-9 Universal Time (1:00-2:00am PDT) on 14 August 2014. This camera faces NE towards the radiant so meteors can be seen shooting in all directions. Courtesy University of Arizona
This is a composite image of meteors captured from the San Diego area between 8-9 Universal Time (1:00-2:00am PDT) on 14 August 2014. This camera faces overhead and the radiant lies outside the frame to the right. The long streaks are aircraft. Courtesy University of Arizona

On the morning of 14 August 2021, the Perseid meteor shower displayed an unexpected outburst of meteors between 06:00 and 09:00 Universal Time (1:00-4:00am CDT). So far we have received visual confirmation of an impressive display of Perseids from observers in Wyoming, USA and Ontario, Canada. AllSky camera systems located in Iowa, USA, have recorded between 900-1100 meteors each during the course of the entire night. My AllSky system, located outside of San Diego, CA, USA, recorded just under 600 meteors with cloud interference and a lower radiant altitude. The cause of this outburst is currently unknown but is probably the result of an unknown filament of comet debris produced by comet 109P/Swift–Tuttle as it raced through the inner solar system many centuries ago . Rates are normally 50 percent lower each preceding night after maximum but these rates are two to three times more than was seen during the expected maximum on the night of August 12/13.

CBET 5016 (Jenniskens, 2021) states the peak was reached on Aug. 14, 08h02 UT (solar longitude 141.474 ±0.005 degrees (equinox J2000.0)), with maximum ZHR between 130 ±20 (calculated from CAMS Texas and California networks) and 210 ±20 (calculated by K. Miskotte (DMS) from Pierre Martin’s visual observations) in good agreement with values calculated by H. Ogawa of the International Project for Radio Meteor Observation from radio forward scatter meteor observations. According to Peter Jenniskens (MeteorNews (b)), this pobable filament may have been crossed over the last years, especially in 2018 (ZHR ~ 25 at solar longitude 140.95°) and 2019 (ZHR ~ 30 at solar longitude 141.02°) .


Last updated: 15/08/2021, 23h14 UT



  • Dave Oesper and myself went out to McFarland Park NE of Ames, Iowa, soon after midnight and for a while rates were about what one might expect this long after maximum, but we were very surprised when the Perseid rates suddenly went up to around 65 per hour at the best, much more than one would expect this long after the peak night. I saw no Perseids brighter than mag. -3 during the hours with high rates. The only Perseid fireball of the session occurred before the rates increased (mag. – 5 with train duration of 10 seconds). It was a pleasant surprise, as the previous night we were mostly clouded out by blow-off from thunderstorms nearly two hundred miles to the south.

    Paul Martsching

    Reply to Paul Martsching
  • My husband and I set up shop outside of our house we live in on a large piece of property in the Florida Panhandle (35 acres) on August 9th. Now our property is gated, has flood lights, cameras, etc all over… we unscrewed the lights we could next to our house, and let the property owners know what we were doing. They ended up turning off ALL the lights on the entire property, bless their hearts! Pitch black!!

    We were blessed by an amazing display!! They were coming from all different directions, short tails, a few with longer ones… The one that we were absolutely awestruck by had the longest tail burning behind it I’ve ever seen!! It lasted for at least 3 seconds and stretch a good 24 – 30 inches from our perspective if we would have held up a ruler to the sky… LoL obviously I know that it was a LOT longer than that in real space LoL… It was extremely bright and so vivid, I can’t believe it!
    If that was the only one I would have seen the entire night, I would be completely happy!!
    The next day it rained so we didn’t see much, but I set up that night (10th) and saw several more than expected through the low layer of clouds. I spent some time on the 11th as well outside watching and saw several… None of which rivaled that one most beautiful one from the first night, but amazing nonetheless!!

    Reply to Sarena B
  • It is nice to discover something new about astronomy. In this respect I congratulate the group of meteor observers in the USA. Good work !!! Unfortunately we could not see the Perseids burst visually/photographically from Germany.
    Fortunately, our radio telescopes can register data in any weather and at any time of day. And so we can confirm your observations as well.
    A nice confirmation for international cooperation.
    Thank you

    Meteor Radio Station Wickede (Germany)

    Reply to Andreas Pietsch
    • Hi Jay, Thanks for posting your: “I recorded video time lapse. Lots of meteors /// Colorado usa”.
      Congratulations on your serendipitous catch!!! Is there any chance that some of your video could be uploaded to YouTube and a link posted with or sent to the author of this page on, Robert Lunsford.
      Thanks in advance!
      – Hal Lane

      Reply to Hal Lane
  • The dates you give are very confusing. You say the “Expected Maximum on August 12/13”, but most sites instructed people to go out the evening of the 11th/12th (North America time). Please just stick to the UTC times and dates. The expected maximum was around 19 UTC on the 12th which was mid-day in North America. This outburst was a full 36 – 40 hours after the expected peak! However, looking at the live-ZHR graphs it would appear that the actual maximum (not counting the outburst) was probably around 4 UTC on the 13th. Of course veteran observers know to go out on multiple nights. Unfortunately I was smoked-out the 12th, clouded-out the 13th and went to bed early on the 14th!

    Reply to Joe Barsugli

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