What is it: When Earth crosses the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, a comet that orbits the Sun every 133 years, the debris cloud of Swift-Shuttle hit Earth’s atmosphere. The debris travel at around 59 kilometers per second and peak temperatures can reach anywhere from 1600 to 5500 deg C, thus burning up as they speed across the sky and causing the celestial spectacle of multitude of shooting stars. Even though the meteors are part of Swift-Tuttle, it is called Perseids Meteor Shower, because they appear to originate from the Perseus constellation.
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When to See the Perseid Meteor Shower:
Earth crosses the comet’s debris cloud every year. The shower is visible from middle July to middle of August, and the peak shower takes place around second week of August (August 11 to 13 this year) as the Earth crosses the thick of the cloud.
Perseids will peak between midnight and dawn on the morning of August 12 and 13. If the sky is cloud free, you can expect to see 40 to 80 meteors per hour this year.
This year the the new moon is on August 11, 2018. Hence the conditions are ideal for an “illuminating” show!
How & Where to see 2018 Perseid Meteor Shower:
Required Conditions: Clear Sky away from city lights — Check clear sky (cloud) conditions in your area – here.
–The best way to see it is get away from city lights, preferably to Dark Sky Preserves. If not, to open sky areas (so that you have a 360 deg view of the sky) away from city lights (where you can typically see a million stars on a clear starry night) around midnight and look up — North East at the sky.
— Watch the night sky for at least 15 to 20 minutes for a chance to spot meteors. At its best, the shower can produce more than 50 meteors per hour. You can see the shower with naked eye and do not need astronomy equipment.
— Make sure you switch off the phone and your eyes need ~ 30 minutes to get adjusted to the dark. If you are carrying a flashlight, cover it with red cellophane wrap or some kind of red filter, so that it doesn’t interfere with viewing.
If you want to attend a more in-depth presentation, RASC chapters and astronomy clubs will be organising many events across the country. Check with your local chapter.
2018 Perseid Meteor Shower Parties and Other Dark Sky Events
Newfoundland & Labrador
- Join for Terra Nova National Park Night Sky Celebration on August 10th & 11th 2018. The RASC St. John’s Centre will be joining Terra Nova National Park with astronomy presentations, and offering telescopic night time views of the Moon, Planets and Deep Sky objects, as well as Solar viewing during the day.
- If you are in Nova Scotia or in the vicinity of Smiley’s Provincial Park, join for Atlantic Canada’s Longest-Running Star Party from August 10-13, 2018 at Smiley’s Provincial Park, Nova Scotia.
- Join members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the annual Camping and Observing Weekend (C.O.W.) August 10 to 11, 2018 at the Mactaquac Provincial Park. Several telescopes will be set-up on Friday and Saturday nights, to allow the public to view the wonders of the night sky.
- Bring a lawn chair or blanket, a snack or two and some insect repellent and join for nature’s fireworks show at Morgan Arboretum, Conservation Centre, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on Saturday, August 11th, 8PM (Doors open at 7:30).
- Head to Long Sault Conservation area, Bowmanville for the Dark Sky Star Party. The event is held on the first clear day between Monday, August 6, 2018 to Thursday, August 9, 2018.
- Are you an amateur astronomer? Then join for North York Astronomical Association Starfest 2018 held at River Place Park, RR 3, Ayton from August 9-12, 2018.
- Snag a spot at David Dunlap Observatory (DDO), Richmond Hill meteor watching event on Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:00pm to 10:00pm for Perseids meteor shower.
- Drop in at Star Party – Catch a Falling Star at Ontario Science Centre held on August 11, from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. With telescope observing, comet making and an out-of-this-world expert who’ll provide an update on the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu, there’s astronomical proportions of fun to be had by the whole family.
- Perseid Meteor Shower Star Party at UofW on Sunday, August 12 at 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM @ Columbia Fields near Frank Tompa Drive, University of Waterloo: Explore the night sky with astronomers from the Faculty of Science and Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Meet first in the nearby Optometry building for a short lecture by the Department of Physics and Astronomy’s Dr. Will Percival: “Mapping the Universe”.
- Get to The Dark Sky Preserve in North Frontenac @ 135816 Road 506 between Plevna and Fernleigh just two hours from Ottawa from August 11 to 13 for the Perseid Meteor Shower.
- If you an Astrophotographer, visit Lennox & Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area, Erinsville on August 11 for Astrophotographers Assemble, an informal evening where night sky photographers – from novice to expert and everyone in between – are encouraged to come out and photograph the stars overhead. Or you can visit from August 12 to 14 for the meteor shower.
- Join for the North Bay Astronomy Club’s Star Party on August 9 to 12 @ The Chapmans’ observing field, Highway 11, South River
- Visit Gordon’s Park, Manitoulin Island for the annual Perseids Meteor Party from August 10 to 13.
We could not find any events held during this weekend in Manitoba. Head to Spruce Woods Provincial Park or any other provincial parks sufficiently far away from cities/towns to enjoy starry nights!
- Though this is not a meteor shower specific event, the upcoming weekend is the perfect time to visit Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park for the annual Saskatchewan Summer Star Party presented by the Saskatoon and Regina Centres of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Wednesday August 8 to Monday August 13, 2018 @ Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park Centre Block.
- In Calgary, during the annual Milky Way Days, August 9 to 11, 2018, Calgary astronomers will provide a sky tour outside on the viewing terrace and point out some of the highlights of the summer sky.
- In Edmonton, University of Alberta Botanic Garden is hosting a Perseid Meteor Shower Pajama Party on August 10.
- Get to Jasper National Park for an ultimate Perseid Meteor Shower experience. Your experience starts inside The Jasper Planetarium, then, go outside for a 10-minute shuttle ride into Jasper Dark Sky Preserve for an all-weather telescope experience. Here you’ll receive a tour of the largest, most powerful telescopes in the Rockies at a special dark sky location, recent Jasper sky imagery from new video telescope, tips on how to use your DSLR camera to photograph auroras and the Milky Way if weather permits and a live guided tour of meteors as they fall, plus objects in our Solar System and deep space as seen through our telescopes.
- Visit Simon Fraser University Trottier Observatory, Burnaby for the weekly Starry Nights. Friday, August 10, 2018, 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM.
- Visit Aldergrove Regional Park, Abbotsford on Saturday, August 11, 2018, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM to enjoy Metro Vancouver Regional Parks annual Perseid Meteor Shower Watch at Aldergrove Regional Park. It is the only night of the year that overnight camping is allowed in this park. Enjoy lantern-lit trails, games, crafts, blacklight theatres and fun activities from Science World, H.R. Macmillan Space Centre, Langley Environmental Partners Society, and many others.
- Join for Astronomy in the Park at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, Sunshine Coast on August 11, 2018
- Join for free star party at the observatory offered by the Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in association with the National Research Council and Royal Astronomical Society of Canada on Saturday, 11 August 2018, 7:15 PM – 11:00 PM @ 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria
- Island Star Party Bright from August 10th to 13th, 2018 @ Angel Regional Park, 4528 Tigwell Rd, Duncan
- Visit the Observatory near West Lake, Prince George and join for the open house on Sunday, August 12, 2018 during the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower from 8:30 pm until 10:30 pm.
- Perseid Meteor Shower watch from 11:00 PM to 4 AM on August 11 to 13 @ RASC Yukon Centre, Whitehorse