tent under night sky by lake

Summer stargazing

Star light, star bright

Did you know the first star you see tonight might not be a true star?

The annual Perseid meteor shower — one of the best shooting star displays in the northern hemisphere — is at its most brilliant this week!

Peak viewing for the Perseids is estimated to run from 11:00 PM on August 12 to 4:30 AM on August 13 (although the meteor shower will be visible all week).

Stargazers active during peak times are likely to see 50-80 shooting stars per hour (that’s a meteor per minute!).

The best spot to watch?

Away from city lights, of course. It’s a great week to go camping (and we’ve still got lots of great sites available). Just lie back, point your feet toward the northeast skies and enjoy the show.

Don’t forget to bring:

  • a blanket, foamie or lawnchair
  • a flashlight (so you can walk safely back to your campsite or vehicle)
  • warm clothes or a hot drink (in case it’s a chilly night)
  • a star map or star app (the Perseids will be near the constellation of Perseus)

Starry sky

Many of our parks are marking the occasion with “Astronomy in the Parks” programs:

Charleston Lake (August 12), Amphitheatre

Join internationally renowned astronomer Terence Dickinson for a fabulous light show here at Charleston Lake! On the best night of the year for seeing shooting stars, park-goers will also have the opportunity to see the rings of Saturn through a large telescope!

Rushing River (August 14-15), Southside Beach

Join us at Rushing River to watch the Perseid meteor shower! Plan to spend at least an hour outside: the meteors often come in spurts and are interspersed with lulls. Wear warm clothes and bring a chair or blanket to sit on!

Quetico (August 13-16), Information & Heritage Pavilion, Dawson Trail Campgrounds

It’s Astronomy Weekend at Quetico! Join the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as they guide visitors through the night sky. Presentations are followed by viewing the skies with amazing telescopes, kindly brought to Quetico by members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Thunder Bay Chapter

  • Friday, August 14th, 8:00 PM: The Solar System and Beyond
  • Saturday, August 15th, 1:00 PM: Look at the Sun!
  • Saturday, August 15th, 8:00 PM: Mysteries of the Universe, Unraveled
  • Sunday, August 16th, 10:30 AM: Children’s Northern Lights Program

Can’t get away this weekend?

Nothing beats camping under the night sky and exploring the stars at your leisure. We’ve got more astronomy programs coming up later this month, including:

  • Emily (August 22): The Peterborough Astronomy Association visits Emily armed with telescopes and a great stargazing program.
  • Inverhuron (August 22): The Blue Water Astronomy Club offers a guided tour of the night sky. Look through high-powered telescopes, and learn about the stars and constellations above us!