Ric Hornsby sent this photo of a Perseid meteor, captured north of Gimli, Manitoba, in August 2013. This year's Perseid meteor shower peaks early Thursday morning.
Photo Credit: Ric Hornsby

Perseids peak tonight and tomorrow

The Perseid meteor show, one of the best celestial events of the year, is at its most amazing tonight and perhaps tomorrow, weather permitting of course.

Andrew Fazekas, The Night Sky Guy, refers to it as the “Cosmic Old Faithful”. He says he’s always amazed to think that something the size of a grain of sand, shed from a comet so long ago, can create what we perceive as a shooting star here on earth.


You want to be sheltered from light as much as possible, ideally an hour away from a large city, to see them best, Fazekas advises.  He says, if you can see the Milky Way, then you’ll be in for a great view of the Perseids.

With the moon in its new phase, or not visible in the sky these nights, the viewing will be at its best.

Astronomers have predicted that this year should make for some great sights as the earth will be hitting a particularly dense cloud of the Perseids with 60 to 100 shooting stars or more an hour.

There are other meteoric events through the year, such as the Leonids, or the Geminids but as they take place in December for example, it is not as comfortable to be outdoors sky watching in Canada.

This year amateur and professional astronomers will be watching the dark-side of the moon to observe the meteors hitting the surface causing a flashes of light.  They’ll be counting them, for NASA, as the space agency is tallying them to factor into future moon landing missions.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be hosting events in several regions of the country, open to the public this evening, to help them view the events, with and without telescopes and binoculars.

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