The Perseids Meteor Showers have hit us! Whether you’ve heard about them or not, you’ll likely be itching for the next show once you view them. These meteors are exceptionally brilliant, shooting between 50 and 100 colorful streaks in the sky each hour. Here are the best tips for this meteor shower and other celestial happenings worth a drive!
Wait for Clear, Dark Skies
Make sure it is a clear night! You won’t see anything in the atmosphere if clouds guard your sky. Set up your spot as the sky darkens, so you have the best chance to see the lights. Many areas in the U.S. have privately and publicly owned dark sky parks. Check out this list to see if you are close to one.
While many astronomical events do require telescopes, the Perseids are bright enough to see without special equipment. You should be able to see them using the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean you should come empty-handed. NASA recommends that you give yourself about 45 minutes so your eyes can adjust to the dark. Bring something warm to wear and something comfortable to sit in as you settle in or the show. If you want special gear for this and any future viewings, headlamps with a red-light area are a great pick. This type of light will illuminate your area without adding unwanted light to the view.
Do Your Research
It can be frustrating when you drive out to your spot and don’t see anything. How do you even know if you are looking in the right place? Use star maps to figure out the sky. These can easily be downloaded or printed out. If you aren’t so old school, use apps! They are great not only to see what is in the sky, but see what is coming up next to research when and where the next ones will come up in your area. Stellarium is a great app to start as it lets you set your location and move the horizon. It even has a red light mode to help you see better in the dark.