Algonquin Outfitters

Perseids Meteor Shower – August 12th 2012

When ever asked what my interests are I always list “star gazing” as one of them. I often find myself wandering away from the camp fire while on an Algonquin canoe trip to lay on my back at the waters edge and gaze at the brilliant night sky.  Algonquin Park offers some of the best opportunities for star gazing in Canada. This is why the Algonquin Radio Observatory was built here back in 1962, because of the vast wilderness producing the blackest static free skies.

This Sunday/Monday you’ll be treated to the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids Meteor Shower.

Best hours to observe:Algonquin Radio Observatory

11:00pm – 04:30am (EST)
Peak: Night of Aug 11 to morning of Aug 12
Best: Morning of August 12th, Morning of August 13th (less moonlight)

Peak: August 12 & 13
Shower rate: 30-60 per hour
Time Zone: UTC/GMT -5 hours
While expected rates in your location may be high, several factors may interfere.

Moon Forecast: Waning Crescent

Moon phase is near ideal for gazing at the Perseids meteor shower. The peak of this shower coincides with a waning crescent Moon, so even the fainter Perseids meteors can be observed.

Top recommended viewing locations:

Algonquin Park (abandoned airfield between Mew lake and Lake of Two Rivers Campground)In 2012, the peak of the Perseids meteor shower will coincide with a waning crescent moon. This will produce favorable viewing circumstances for observers expecting to get the full effect of this yearly summer experience. With upwards of 80 meteors per hour predicted, it may well be worth staying out to catch quite a few impressive bursts of light streaking through the night sky.

On average, under completely clear skies, and in complete darkness, observers may witness 20 to 80 meteors per hour; but these rates can exceed up to 120 meteors per hour in rural locations. Be aware that local conditions such as light pollution, cloud cover, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.

For the best viewing experience, find an area unobstructed by a structure that is far away from city lights. Using optical devices such as binoculars or telescopes is not recommended, as your field of view will be greatly restricted, thus making the possibility of missing a “shooting star” more likely.

Once you have settled down at your observation spot, face half-way up toward the northeastern portion of the sky. Looking northeast, you will have the constellation of Perseus, the radiant of the Perseids shower, within your field of view. Not coincidentally, the Perseids meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus for the reason that they appear to originate from the sparkling Greek “hero.”

Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house.

Watching a meteor shower sometimes takes a great deal of patience, but if you wait long enough, you should be rewarded with a an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

NASA explains the 2012 Perseids Meteor Shower:

Where to View

One of the best places to watch the Perseids Metor Shower will be in Algonquin park.  Algonquin offers some of the best dark sky’s in Canada for viewing such astronomical events.Just a 2 hour drive north of Toronto, camping available, so bring your tent and lawn chair to witness this event.The old airfield between Mew Lake Campground and Lake of Two Rivers campground offers one of the largest open sky viewing areas.Remember permits are required to be in the park.

View Algonquin Park Buildings in a larger map

Star Walk App

Star Walk is an award-winning Education app that allows users to easily locate and identify 20,000+ objects in the night sky. The 360-degree, touch control star map displays constellations, stars, planets, satellites, and galaxies currently overhead from anywhere on Earth. Highly praised and the winner of a 2010 Apple Design Award, the latest update allows users to enjoy unprecedented eye candy and interactivity of the star map, achieved with the new camera and high resolution of the new device. *No Internet connection required*

Star Walk App Perseids Meteor Shower

 Meteor Counter App

 Be a part of NASA meteor research with Meteor Counter!When you go out to watch a meteor shower, bring your iPhone with you. With Meteor Counter, you can easily capture meteor observations with an innovative “piano key” interface. As you tap the keys, Meteor Counter records critical data for each meteor: time, magnitude, latitude, and longitude, along with optional verbal annotations.Meteor Counter also provides a news feed and event calendar, which are updated by professional scientists to keep you informed of the latest meteor happenings and upcoming showers.

 Meteor Counter App

 Did you get pictures of the Perseids Meteor Shower?

We’d love to see what photos you were able to capture of the night sky during the Perseids Meteor Shower, or any other night sky photos.  They don’t have to be taken in Algonquin Park, you could have captured them in your back yard.  We often share the best of them with out followers on our various Social Networks, like Facebook or Twitter.

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Update Aug 13th 2012

The following photos and videos were captured this past weekend of the 2012 Perseids Meteor Shower


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