The next couple days promise a warm mid-August weekend, and that means one thing: The Perseid meteor showers will reach their peak in the skies above Montreal.
At this time of year, Earth's orbit goes by the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, whose tail is full of dust particles that create the astronomical event. "However," Espace pour la vie writes on its event page, "the quality of the celestial show varies dramatically from year to year," and it depends on the Earth’s from the particle stream, as well as the positioning of the Moon; the presence of a bright moon creates light pollution that overpowers the faintest meteors, and that decreases the total number that can be seen on a given session.
The good news? The outlook for this year’s Perseids meteor shower watch is "very positive."
It's expected to reach peak activity between 3 and 6 p.m. EST on August 12, by the window of opportunity for looking up could extend to 11 p.m. That's the peak, but the nights of August 11 to 12 and 12 to 13 will be good for watching the Perseids too.
Even better: The sky is expected to be relatively moon-free. That means that one can expect to count up to 50 Perseids per hour under clear, dark skies during the nights following the peak activity window. Because the moon won’t be a limiting factor, it’ll be worth the extra effort to get out of the city if you can't snag a spot at the Botanical Garden. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate "for peak nights, don’t despair: conditions will still be interesting for two or three nights before and after August 12," says Espace pour la vie.
You can submit your name to the waitlist to be part of the Perseids meteor shower watch party at the Botanical Garden here.
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