Perseid Meteor Showers

As the sun sets, the night sky takes over and stars begin to twinkle. But this week, there’s more than just the odd star or occasional constellation to view – the Perseids are peaking!  If you’re heading out backcountry camping this week, you’re going to be in the perfect place for this show.

Setting sun means meteor showers are on their way! (Photo: Megan Kopp)

Set up your bivy bag in an alpine meadow – or anywhere with an unobstructed view in a dark sky preserve – and crack open those eyelids sometime between midnight and just before dawn.

The full moon will be bright in the sky on Saturday, which is actually the peak of the annual Perseid meteor showers, but meteors will be flying throughout the week.

What’s in a name?

These meteor showers are dubbed “Perseid” because the meteors appear to shoot out from the Perseus constellation. When the moon is not so bright, up to 50 or more meteors can be seen during one hour.

What are you actually watching?

You may call them “shooting stars”, but the Perseid meteor showers are actually a debris cloud left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet that plows into Earth’s atmosphere once a year. Although the meteors may look big and bright, most are actually about the size of a grain of sand.

Did you know?

Meteors are mighty speedy, traveling anywhere from 7 – 46 miles per second (or 420 – 2760 miles per hour)!

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