It’s been a great weekend for the Vancouver night sky, but it isn’t over yet – the Perseid meteor shower will be peaking between August 11 and 13.
The Perseids are known as one of summer’s most spectacular displays, and is the most famed of all major meteor showers – human viewings have been said to date back to 2,000 years ago. This year, they have been around since mid-July and will continue until August 24. We can expect to see up to 100 shooting stars per hour across the night sky here in Vancouver between 11:00 p.m. – 4:30 a.m. between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
However, owing to the cloudy forecast up ahead and the fact that the moon will be 14 per cent clearer than usual, it’s possible that the clarity of the sky will be undesirable. To fuel some optimism, here’s how you can prepare to get the most out of the Perseid meteor shower experience:
1. Get away from the glow of city light
It seems obvious, but escaping artificial light around you can prove to be difficult if you want to see as much of the meteor shower as possible. Look for parks, isolated areas and spots free of buildings where headlights and silhouettes won’t frequently hinder your vision. A dark sky that will remain uninterrupted is your best bet for an optimum experience.
2. Have the right company
Instead of taking along the friend who is constantly chattering or on their smartphone, make sure the people you’re experiencing the meteor shower with understand how important it is to constantly look up! You don’t want to have to wait through the night only to miss it because you were distracted.
3. Be patient
The best time to view the Perseids will ultimately be at dawn – so if you’re hoping to catch it within ten minutes of sitting outside at night, think again. It could be a long night, so keep warm! We’re looking at about a five-hour range within which you could see it, so be prepared to wait it out and make sure you give your eyes time to adjust – it could take up to thirty minutes.
4. Know where to look
Once you’ve gotten away from surrounding lights, ensure you’re lying down flat with your feet facing the northeastern portion of the sky. This is where you’ll find the constellation Perseus, which is the radiant of the Perseids shower. Avoid looking directly up at the sky, as this means you’ll only catch where the shower starts from – looking slightly away will allow you to see a trail instead.
Keep your fingers crossed for a clear night sky!
If you’re looking for more information on the Perseids, you can find more helpful tips here.
Featured Image: meteor shower via Shutterstock