Every August 12 I take the family to the desert to enjoy the Perseid meteor shower. This year there will be an especially bright moon rising before 1:00, which is when the shower really peaks. Last year especially was a disappointment as the moon did not set until 2 or 3 in the morning, and there was little to see until it did, so I don't want to disappoint the family two years in a row.

If I wait a day or two (depending on scheduling conflicts), so that the moon might rise later and be a bit less full, how much would that be expected to reduce the intensity of the meteor shower? I've found this paper discussing meteor shower activity profiles, but nothing that I could apply to this year's Perseid shower. This question also seemed relevant, but it does not contain the detail need to determine if waiting a day or two would significantly reduce the visible activity.

Is meteor activity significantly reduced a day or two after the peak, for purposes of recreational observation by experienced observers?

I understand that nobody can predict (space) weather. But the Perseid shower typically persists for two weeks after the peak. Is that a linear drop off? Exponential? Does the shower typically loose 5% of its intensity in two days, or 50%, or 95%?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. Yet observation trumps prediction. Astronomy is a hobby and a science which for observation relies on weather and chance more than one would want to wish sometimes - and takes place at hours usually considered inconvenient. Patience and resilence to frustration is a virtue in the observation business. There are no hard promises to make. Make sure that it is a joyful experience irrespective of how many shooting stars you see. Observe Jupiter and its moons. Study moon craters. Try find the comet (if still possible with a good binocular)... $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ @planetmaker Thank you. We're experienced observers, so know to enjoy the other bits of sky. But we take a two-hour drive specifically for the meteors, so I would like to time it right. In any case, this year Jupiter and Saturn look terrific together, then Mars rises, and then a beautiful Venus shines. I just came in from looking at them! I enjoyed two recon satellites and a (non-persied) meteor as well. The 'scope is not working, but I would never point it at the bright moon for people who want to observe meteors. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Thank you. In fact one of those links I link to in the OP. As stated, I understand that the shower will be less intense two days after peek, and that nobody can predict the (space) weather. But the shower will persist for two weeks after the peak. Is that a linear drop off? Exponential? Does the shower typically loose 5% of its intensity in two days, or 50%? $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:31


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