Image: Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse (Nik Dunn)

What better way to welcome clear skies back to Victoria than a night of star gazing?

Or more appropriately, a night of shooting fireball gazing? That has a bit more oomph to it.

Our currently smoky skies are expected to clear by Thursday, making Friday’s “mainly sunny” weather perfect for watching the Perseid Meteor Shower.

You can join Parks Canada staff and local experts for a night of curiosity, astronomy, and galaxy exploration. From the undisturbed vantage point of Fort Rodd Hill, large telescopes will be available for an intimate look at those great balls of fire.

Presentation, Activities, Tutorials, and Camping!

Join Scott Mair, an astronomer from the Royal Astronomical Society, in a special presentation accompanied by hands-on activities. For those interested in capturing stunning evening skies, a night photography tutorial is also offered.

Participants also have the opportunity to stay overnight in a four or six-man tent, for $55 or $70 respectively. Camping pads, lanterns, and a light breakfast (muffins and juice) are included. Reservations can be made in advance by calling (250) 478-4389.

Due to limited space, stargazers are unable to bring their own tents.

What is the Perseid Meteor Shower and why does it happen?

When watching a meteor shower, you’re actually seeing comet debris heating up as they gather speed toward earth. As they approach the earth at a preposterous 59km per second, our atmosphere causes them to burn up, creating short bursts of light.

Friday’s batch of burning dust and debris is kindly brought to you by the Comet Swift-Tuttle. It last passed the earth in 1992, and it won’t return until 2126. Due to its size, earthlings like ourselves won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.

Swift Tuttle Comet Perseid Meteor Shower
Photo via solarsystem.nasa.gov

The Swift-Tuttle is the largest known object to pass by earth on a continuous basis. With a diameter of approximately 26 kilometers, its width is roughly the driving distance from our office to the peak of the Malahat.

If only burning things like toast and lasagna were similarly spectacular.

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