Canadians across the country should look up at the skies this week, as the Perseids meteor shower makes its grand return for the summer.
It is one of the best meteor showers to watch, as it is known to produce a rich array of colourful meteors. While every meteor originates from a point in the Perseus constellation, they will be visible in all parts of the sky, streaking in every direction and leaving beautiful illuminated dust trails as they do.
The Perseids meteor shower has a relatively high zenithal hourly rate (ZHR), which means it is able to produce a high quantity of meteors per hour. Typically, the Perseids has a ZHR of around 100, which is more than some other yearly recurring meteor showers.
This year, the Perseids started back in July but will peak on the night of Aug. 12-13, which conveniently lands on a weekend. During that time, viewers watching at a clear and dark location may be able to catch between 50 to 75 meteors per hour.
The peak also occurs during a new moon, which is said to improve viewing conditions that night as there won’t been as much moonlight clouding the meteors.
You won’t need a telescope or binoculars to view the Perseids — they can be seen clearly with the naked eye. Just find a spot on the ground to lie down and find the darkest parts of the sky, as the meteors are most visible in those areas.
So make sure to grab some blankets, pack some hot cocoa and head out to a nearby dark sky preserve in your area to optimize your Perseids viewing experience.