This week Saskatchewan skies will be lit up by the annual Perseid Meteor shower, and stargazers expect this year to be one of the best showers ever.
“It’s probably already started there’s been a few meteors people have seen but we are approaching the peak activity,” Stan Shaduk, professor of astronomy at the University of Saskatchewan, said.
While the meteor shower is expected to provide a midnight show all week, the best time to look up is Thursday morning. Shaduk said the less sleep you get Thursday night, the better the show.
“Early in the morning is better, once it gets completely dark you should be able to see some of the Perseid meteors in the sky,” he said. “The later you stay up the greater frequency of meteors you will observe; the best time is 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.”
The story behind the Perseid Meteor shower is that the earth is plowing its way through a river of dust and space particles are left behind by passing comets. The earth’s gravitational pull drags those particles into the earth’s atmosphere creating quite the spectacle in the night’s sky.
Looking at the forecast, Shaduk said meteors will shine bright in the dark sky with the absence of the bright moonlight.
“When the moon is bright it washes out the meteors — this year the moon will not be up in the sky so this should be one of the best years to view this event,” Shaduk said.
If you plan on taking in the show, Shaduk recommends heading out into the country away from the city lights. Shaduk said he’s hosting a presentation and viewing party at the Pike Lake Recreation Centre just south of Saskatoon.
He recommends viewers to bring a sleeping bag and a reclining chair.
“It will get chilly at night and mosquitoes will be around, and the recliner … in order to see the meteors the recommendation is you lay down on your back and you can look up at the entire sky so you have a good view of as much of the sky as possible.”
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