The Perseid meteor shower happens every August as the Earth plows into debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle.
And with NASA predicting up to 200 meteors an hour (double the usual 60 – 100) this year’s show should be seriously spectacular.
Related post: Find out exactly what to look for this year in Space.com’s 2016 Perseid Meteor Shower Observing Guide.
According to Space.com, despite the fact that most meteors are the “size of a grain of sand”, Perseid meteors are travelling at an astonishing 133,200 mph (214,365 kph) “when they hit the Earth’s atmosphere”.
presents the… N I G H T S C A P E R Photo Award to @goldpaintphoto Congratulations to Brad Goldpaint – our featured artist. “Flash Point” shows the Perseid Meteor Shower shooting across the sky in the early hours of 13 August 2015, appearing to cascade from Mount Shasta in California. Brad’s composite image features roughly 65 meteors captured between 12:30am and 4:30am. This photo was recently honored as NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. || Please show support to our guest artist by visiting his/her gallery . . Royce’s note: Forecasters are predicting a Perseid “outburst” this year with double the normal rates on the nights of Aug. 11-12 (up to 200 meteors per hour). The last Perseid outburst occurred in 2009. Technically, the best times are actually between midnight and dawn on the morning of August 12, and between midnight and dawn on August 13 (with about 50% less activity). The hours before dawn are the very best for watching the Perseids, especially since a waxing gibbous moon will be interrupting our meteor party, and not setting until after 1:00am in most USA time zones. Where to look: The shower radiates from the constellation Perseus, in the upper northeastern dome of the night sky. See the TUTORIAL in today’s blog post (via the link in my bio or go to NightScaper.com) . . SHOWCASE YOUR PHOTO HERE: To have your “Night Photography” considered for a feature in this gallery, please follow me and tag with #nightscaper . . #nightphotography #nightscape #nightscapes #nightsky #longexposure #longexpo #starrynight #starrysky #astro_photography_ #ig_astrophotography #astrophotography #meteor #meteorshower #perseids #perseidmeteorshower
Where to watch the Perseid meteor shower in Whistler
Light pollution is the biggest buzz-kill for shooting stars and meteor showers. So for the best views make sure where ever you go you’re far away from (or above) street lights, densely light housing complexes, and traffic.
The more light that is around you the harder your eyes will have to adjust to peering into the darkness, and that includes your phone and camera screens. Turn the brightness right down and use a red headlamp instead of a white one to help you get around in the dark.
“The bigger the rock that encounters the atmosphere, the brighter it’s going to burn and the longer it’s going to burn. If you are at a location where it’s dark and where you can see the stars with your eye, then you will likely see little streaks going across the sky,” explained Phil Langill, director of the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.
The other important thing to take into account is how much horizon you can see. Space.com says that the Perseid meteor shower will be visible at a declination of 45 degrees. So the best thing would be to go camping in an open alpine meadow. But if you don’t have the time (or want) to set yourself up in the woods, here are our top 6 drive-in, almost-dark spots in Whistler.
Our favourite 6 drive-in, almost-dark spots in Whistler
- Rainbow Park
- Wayside Park
- The Spit at Green Lake
- Callaghan Lake
- Brandywine Meadows (short 30 min hike in. 4 x 4 off-road vehicle needed to get all the way to the top of the access road)
Some Perseid meteor shower action from early this morning. This image is a blend of 10 photos & shows that while the meteors can be all over the place they generally originate in the northeast part of the sky by Cassiopeia & Perseus. The best part of the night was getting to share it with my youngest daughter but me thinks she fell asleep a little too often ? #Whistler #deepsky #meteors #meteorshower #explorebc #exploretheuniverse
A photo posted by David McColm (@dlmccolm) on
The time to watch the Perseid meteor shower in Whistler
It’s widely recommended that the best time to see the highest concentration of Perseid meteors is just before dawn. Which, in Whistler, will be around 4am on the morning of Friday August 12th 2016.
But if you’re not keen on staying awake that late (or getting up that early) the chances are good this year that there will be something to see as early as midnight. From our position on Earth, the meteors appear to originate from the constellation Perseus, which becomes visible on the horizon at about 10 pm local time. While it won’t be nearly dark enough to see meteors at 10pm, this year’s “outburst” of almost 200 meteors an hour gives you a better than usual chance of seeing something right as the sky turns black. Good news for those of us who prefer to be mid-REM at 4am.
If you capture any awesome shots of the Perseid meteor show this year, tag them #SummitLodge on your favourite social network and we will include you in our round-up of the best shots from 2016.