It’s mid-August, and that means the Perseid meteor shower is here again. Over the next few days the Earth will move through a cloudy trail of space dust left in our solar system ages ago, and when we hit this space dust it’ll show up as ‘shooting stars’ in our night skies.
Every year I post tips on how to best enjoy the show from Newfoundland, in this year is no different.
The most important thing you can do to make your night outing a success is to get out of the city or get out of town, far away from bright lights. In addition to messing up your night vision, bright city lights make the entire sky above you glow, making it much harder to see meteors.
I always watch meteor showers from the comfort of a nice dark place on the coast, and so can you: there’s bound to be a suitable dark place nearby that you’re familiar with.
If I may make a suggestion, the East Coast Trail is a great place to be at night, so perhaps go on a night hike or a camping trip and watch the meteor shower from the trail!
As to when to go out specifically: go tonight, go tomorrow night, or go this weekend. Weather-wise, tonight looks like the best night if you’re on the east coast, but tomorrow night could be good too.
Whenever you choose to go and wherever you are, it’s best to watch for meteors from about midnight to dawn, but you’ll see them before that time too. Generally speaking, the later the hour the better the show, but that only holds true if you can keep your eyes open and don’t fall asleep underneath the gently twinkling stars above.
Now that you know all this, let me tell you about one bright light you cannot possibly get away from, and that’s this weekend’s nearly full moon. Its pale glow will wash out the sky and hide many faint meteor strikes, but all the big and bright fireballs will still be visible and those are the best kind of meteor anyway. As a bonus, the moonlight will make it easier to see where you’re going.
Have fun and stay safe!