Summertime Stargazing

The glare of urban lighting makes stargazing tricky, but Point Grey offers some of the least obscured viewpoints, says UBC professor and self-described astro-paparazzo Dr. Jaymie Matthews. From July until early August Saturn will shine like a bright star (without the twinkle) and its ring system should be visible with binoculars or a small telescope. On July 16, Saturn and the first quarter moon will pose close together-look for Saturn low in the southwest soon after sunset.

From August 10 to 13, one week after the Honda Celebration of Lights, the Earth’s orbit will carry it through a stream of dust particles left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. “The Perseid meteor shower is more like a drizzle, with up to 60 meteors visible per hour, under clear, dark skies,” says Matthews. “But compare that to the usual rate of meteor sightings (three to four per hour) and you can see why astronomers call it a shower.” The peak of the Perseids will be on the night of August 12, and the best viewing time is after midnight. The moon will be a waxing crescent with little glare-lie back and scan the skies and you’ll see meteors, maybe even a fireball, that’ll make you gasp.


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For more information regarding the Perseid Meteor Shower Watch, visit