As summer starts winding down, one of the most magical natural phenomenons returns to the night sky: The Perseid Meteor Showers. Ranging from late July to the end of August, the meteor showers will reach their peak this summer in the early mornings of August 11, 12, and 13th. And this year, there will be no moonlight on those mornings to ruin the show. Here are some tips for watching the meteors, as well as the best spots to find a clear, open view of the sky.
Find a Wide Open, Dark Sky
Like any stargazing, meteors are best seen against a dark sky, without light pollution or moonlight. And the larger your view, the better your chances are for seeing these spectacular shooting stars. Find a large meadow, beach, or high point where you can see a large expanse of sky. Since meteors streak across different parts of the sky, and come in spurts, give yourself ample time to adjust to the dark. Some nights you may see as many as 60-100 meteors an hour during peak showers!
Some great spots to find a wide-open sky:
Watch from Midnight to Dawn
Meteors will start to fly across our northern sky from mid to late evening, but later at night and into the morning, the Earth will be spinning toward the meteor stream in space, which means you will see more meteors. If you’re lucky and have a wide-open view of the horizon, you might get lucky and see an “Earthgrazer,” a long, slow, colorful meteor traveling horizontally across the evening sky. These rare but memorable meteors appear before midnight, when the radiant point of the shower is closer to the horizon.
Get Comfortable and Stay a While
It’s best to give yourself at least an hour of observation time, so bring a reclining camp chair or a picnic blanket to lay on, maybe even a pillow and some extra blankets in case it’s chilly. Pack snacks, fill a thermos with hot chocolate, and dress warmly – and remember, all good things come to those who wait. The Perseid Meteor Showers are a part of nature – there is no way to fully predict when you’ll see the most meteors. Best to just lay back and soak up the magic. 🌠