The peak of the Perseid Meteor shower is coming in less than two weeks! You don’t want to miss it, as it is the most popular meteor shower of the year. With typical rates being about 80 meteors an hour flying across the sky, with outburst years’ rates being between 150-200 an hour. Don’t forget to take our your cameras and enjoy the show!
When & Where Can You See The Meteor Shower?
The meteor showers will happen between July 17th to August 24th and the peak is around 1 p.m. EDT on August 12th! That means the night on August 12, the night before (August 11) and the night after (August 13) will all have good rates of meteors. This peak is when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteor shower can be best seen in the Northern Hemisphere and down to the Mid-Southern latitudes, so everyone in Toronto should be have an amazing view. Below is a constellation map showing us roughly where the meteors will be coming from. For those not too familiar with the night sky, we recommend downloading a sky map app onto your phone!
What Causes the Perseids Meteor Shower?
Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth; with it’s nucleus being about 26 kilometres wide. It last passed Earth during it’s orbit about the sun in 1992 and the next time will be in 2126. It won’t be forgotten in the meantime as Earth passes through the dust and debris it leaves behind every year, creating the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. When you watch the meteor shower, you’re actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light, streaking a path across the sky as they travel at 59 km per second. When they’re in space, the pieces of debris are called “meteroids,” but when they reach Earth’s atmosphere, they’re designated as “meteors.” If a piece makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up it is called “meteorite”.
What do you need to see them
To see a meteor shower, you have to be somewhere where you can take in as much sky as possible. For the best view, it may be a good idea to head out of town to avoid any light pollution in the city. At a rate of 80-150 meteors per hour (1 to 3 meteors per minute), including faint streaks along with bright ones, viewers should bring something comfortable to sit on, some snacks and some bug spray to relax, and look up for the celestial show. In the end, all you’ll need is a clear night sky and a little bit of patience.
Quick Photography Tips!
To photograph the night sky during the meteor showers, we highly recommend bringing a tripod with a remote trigger. You most likely have to experiment with your shutter speed as well! Be sure to shoot using a slow to moderate shutter speed in order to capture the tail of the meteors (be sure to use a shutter speed that’s not too slow either as meteors do travel fast across the night sky).