Categorized | Featured, Sci-Tech

Perseids Meteor shower (Aug. 12-13)

Skymap for Hilo during the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, at 1 a.m. Aug. 13. The radiant of the meteor shower is marked ‘Perseids.’ (Image courtesy of LoveBigIsland)

Skymap for Hilo during the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, at 1 a.m. Aug. 13. The radiant of the meteor shower is marked ‘Perseids.’ (Image courtesy of LoveBigIsland)

Gerrit van der Plas | Special to Hawaii 24/7

The Perseids are probably the best meteor shower to watch in 2015 from Hawaii.

Some shooting stars from this shower will be visible through Aug. 24, but to get the most out of your viewing time you have to wait for the peak of this meteor shower.

In Hawaii, peak activity occurs between 3:30 p.m. Aug. 12 and 4 a.m. Aug. 13 2015.

The news for this meteor shower is even better in 2015, since the almost new moon (very dim) only rises above the horizon at 5:17 a.m. Aug 13. This means viewing conditions will be near perfect!

At its peak and under perfect viewing conditions, you can expect to see between 60 and 100 shooting stars per hour.

Make sure to watch the Perseids at a dark place and keep your fingers crossed for clear skies (or go to a place that is known for its dark and clear skies).

— Find out more:

Big Island (Hawaii) Travel Guide


How to watch a Meteor Shower on the Big Island

To spot the most shooting stars in the meteor shower, find the darkest spot possible! The darker the surroundings, the more shooting stars you will be able to see. Stay away from city lights or active volcanoes, and try to pick a part of the night when the Moon is below the horizon.

It also helps a lot to be on a high place. The highest place on the Island is the summit of Mauna Kea, but this is a very unpractical spot for a couple of reasons (freezing temperatures, altitude sickness and limited accessibility to name a few).

Volcano Village or the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are great spots to watch a meteor shower. Go to the Park on a clear night, set up camp on a spot where you cannot see the glow from the Halemaumau or Puu oo crater, and get ready for the show!

Make sure to look up the weather forecast before you go out. Volcano can be cloudy, and watching fog (volcanic smog) is not as much fun as counting shooting stars!

If Volcano is not an option, or if you like an ocean-view while looking for shooting stars, any other dark place outside of the city (with low light-pollution) is also good enough. Just be prepared to see a couple of times less shooting stars from sea level as you would from 4000 feet.

Finally, it is extremely important to make yourself comfortable! There have been times that I have been out for hours to watch the shooting stars, and you want to be comfortable all this time. The following tips are essential for keeping Meteor watching fun.

Because you will not be moving most of the time it is possible you will get a bit cold – especially if you go to a high place to watch the shooting stars. Bring warm clothes and/or a blanket!

Also, bring something to sit or lie down on. You have to look up at the sky a lot, so it is best if you bring a beach chair to recline on, or a picnic blanket to lie down on. Be smart and take a pillow to rest your head on to look at the stars without straining your neck!
What should you pack to watch a Meteor Shower?

Here is the full list of things that you can pack that will greatly enhance the comfort of your meteor watching experience:

* Prepare a wish list. It is fun to do and believe it or not, you will run out of wishes quickly if the shower gets going!

* Bring warm clothes. Early mornings can be chilly even in Hawaii.

* For comfortable watching, also pack a picnic blanket (or something else to lie on) or beach chair.

* Take some snacks and (hot) drinks to keep spirits high (have a look here for suggestions about typical Hawaiian picnic snacks).

* A pillow is nice to rest your head on while watching the skies.

* Bring a flashlight, but turn it off when you are ready to start watching. Allow your eyes 5 to 10 minutes to adjust to to darkness.

* Print out a sky map to find the radiant of the meteor showers.

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