The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies
When I was a kid my mom ran a park in the southern interior of British Columbia. Mabel Lake Provincial Park. Mabel Lake is remote and undeveloped. There was electricity in our trailer, but no phone lines. Whatever isolation this lead to during the day, it meant the nights were dark.
The same families would come every year to camp for a few weeks in the summer – peak social time for me was between the last two weeks of July, and into the first two weeks of August. When that time hit the lake was finally warm enough to stay in for longer than a quick dip, peaches were in season, and hordes of kids would sleep out on the lawn, above the beach.
We’d watch for shooting stars. I didn’t know about the Perseid Meteor Shower at the time, I thought it was a coincidence that the best time to watch the stars happened to be when all my friends were camping at the lake.
Now, because I did a Google search, I know that the Perseids runs from July 17 to August 24. This year, the shower will be at its best on the night of August 12; there will be up to 60 meteors an hour. The internet taught me that it’s the brightest meteor shower of the year; the meteors are space debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which was discovered in the 1800s.
“Perseids” comes from the constellation Perseus, because the meteors seem to radiate from north-eastern quadrant of the sky, which is where that constellation sits.
The waxing moon will set after midnight on August 13. This means the best time to watch for meteors will be around two in the morning.
Pray for clear skies, and get out there.