Where to Watch the 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower Near Vancouver

Each August the night sky lights up with thousands of shooting stars. It’s the Perseid Meteor Shower! With a meteor streaking across the sky every few minutes, it’s a pretty spectacular show. 

What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Every year the Earth passes through a field of debris that comets and asteroids leave behind. When the debris pieces hit the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up, creating streaks of light called meteors. They are also known as shooting stars or falling stars, but they aren’t actually stars at all.

Best Time to See the Meteor Shower

In 2019, the Perseid Meteor shower occurs between July 23rd and August 20th. You can watch the meteors any night during that period, but the peak is around August 13th. However, there’s a full moon around that time, which makes the sky too bright for optimal viewing. So your best chance of seeing lots of shooting stars in 2019 is between August 9th and 11th. 

How to Watch

Stay Up Late: In August the days are long and nights are short. You’ll need to stay up late to catch the darkest part of the night. While the sun sets around 8:40 pm at this time of year, there is still light in the sky until after 10 pm. The best viewing time is after midnight. You can also try getting up early, but aim to watch before 4 am for the darkest skies.

Pick a Night with Clear Weather: Clouds will obscure the meteors and you won’t see anything! 

Go Somewhere Dark: Cities are bright places with lots of light pollution. The darker it is, the better your chances of seeing the Perseids. Pick a spot with no nearby streetlights. Once you arrive at your destination, turn off all your lights and let your eyes adjust to the dark. It can take up to 20 minutes!

Get a Good View of the Sky: Choose an open spot with as much visible sky as possible. Avoid forests and tightly clustered buildings. 

Where to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower Near Vancouver

Attend the Meteor Watching Party in Aldergrove Regional Park: This Abbotsford regional park has low light pollution thanks to the surrounding farms. That makes it a great place to watch for shooting stars. On Saturday, August 10th the park is hosting a Meteor Watching party between 8 and 11 pm. There will be astronomers with telescopes on hand to help you get a better view, plus family-friendly games and crafts. You can even camp overnight. More info at metrovancouver.org

Head to an Astronomical Observatory: Vancouver has two astronomical observatories where you can look through powerful telescopes. Trained astronomers can help you get the best views and explain what you’re seeing. On Saturday nights, head to the Gordon Southam Observatory at the HR MacMillan Space Centre. The Trottier Observatory at SFU also hosts a Starry Nights program for the public on Friday nights.

Go Camping: There are dozens of campgrounds near Vancouver. Set up your tent, then relax in a lawn chair and wait for the Perseids. 

Visit a Park: Here are a few parks near Vancouver that are great for star-gazing. FYI: Some of these may be gated at night. Do your research beforehand to make sure you don’t get stuck behind a locked gate. Consider parking outside and walking in. Don’t forget a flashlight!

  • Porteau Cove Provincial Park near Lions Bay
  • Boundary Bay Regional Park in Tsawwassen
  • Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver
  • Burnaby Mountain Park in Burnaby
  • McDonald Dark Sky Park in Abbotsford

 

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