Just look up: Annual Perseid meteor shower offers 'natural fireworks'
Published Sunday, August 11, 2013 6:56PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:30PM EDT
An annual meteor shower is expected to light up the sky over the next few days as shooting stars streak overhead.
“When that happens we just plow into this stream of particles,” astronomy expert Andrew Fazekas told CTV News Channel Sunday. “Most of them are about the size of a grain of sand, some of them are as big as a grapefruit or basketball.”
When the particles hit Earth’s upper atmosphere, they burn up into what is commonly known as shooting stars.
If there are clear skies, stargazers will be able to spot upwards of 60 to 100 shooting stars per hour for the next two days, beginning Sunday night.
“Those numbers will go down if you’re stuck in the city,” Fazekas said. “In a backyard, you’ll likely see 15 to 20 shooting stars in an hour, but that’s still a great show.”
The meteor shower’s name is derived from the constellation Perseus, from where the shooting stars appear to radiate as they streak across the sky. The constellation is located in the northeastern part of the sky.
Gordon’s Park Eco Resort on Manitoulin Island is hosting a Perseid meteor shower party starting Monday. Participants will be able to observe the “natural fireworks” from the park’s dark sky preserve.
In addition, the park hosts public observing sessions.
Manager Paul Beduhn told CTVNews.ca the park sees a spike in visitors during events like meteor showers.
“We were pleasantly surprised with the public interest in the Perseid party because not a lot of people know about (the meteor shower event),” he said.
The great thing about the dazzling light show is that it can be seen without a telescope.
“As far as I’m concerned, you get a nice cool drink, and you lie down on a picnic table looking up and you’re going to see the best show you can,” Beduhn said.