It’s worth keeping the kids up late for this one.
Pack the blankets and hot cocoa for an evening of sky-watching during the annual Perseid meteor shower. Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy this spectacular show.
Mark Your Calendar
The peak viewing night this year is August 12-13. As soon as the stars are visible, you can expect an average of 40 to 60 meteors per hour. If it’s impossible for your kids to stay up late, just wake them early instead; the pre-dawn hours are prime viewing, especially after the moon sets. The Perseids will come in bright streaks from the direction of the constellation Perseus. Can’t even find the Big Dipper? Download the SkyView app to find constellations with ease.
Seek out the Dark
We love the city, but light pollution is a real damper on a meteor shower. Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park are both local sky-watching favorites, but any place far from city lights will do the trick. This year OMSI is hosting a Perseid Meteor Shower Watch on August 12, at Rooster Rock. This is also the perfect week for an impromptu camping trip! Last year the moon was full during the Perseid meteor shower, but this year it will be a waning crescent, perfect for meteor shower viewing.
Give Your Neck a Break
You won’t want to look away, so bring a blanket or reclining chair so you can be amazed in ease.
There will be lulls. If you’re worried your kids will be squirmy, download an audiobook or podcast for them to listen to while they wait for the sky to light up. The Perseids make an appearance in the children’s novel Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright, and Brains On is a popular podcast for budding scientists.
Wildfire smoke and moonlight can obscure the view. Keep an eye on the weather and wildfire updates in your viewing spot of choice. Worst case scenario, you can watch the Perseids online from the comfort of your home.