Enjoy One of Nature’s Best Light Shows
July 25th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

Eye protection is essential. Sunglasses are not made to look directly into the sun during an eclipse or at any other time. Only use glasses made specifically for eclipse watching or a welder lens with a shade rating of at least 18.
Photo by Leo Patrizi

Sky watching is a favorite pastime, even while participating in other outdoor activities. That’s especially true this time of year, when there is more than just stars to observe.

Mid-July to late August is the perfect time to marvel at one of the most spectacular astronomical events: the Perseid meteor shower.

The Perseid meteor shower displays more and brighter meteors than other showers. It typically features 60 to 80 meteors an hour, but it has been known to display more than twice that many in a prolific year, such as 2016.

This year’s optimal viewing time is the night of August 11
and early morning August 12.
However, it can be seen at non-peak times, too, which are the other nights between July 17 and August 24.

Here are four tips for enjoying this year’s Perseid meteor shower:

  • Watch between midnight and 4 a.m. Generally, those are the best viewing hours.
  • Avoid light pollution. Artificial light from houses, businesses and traffic can diminish sky-watching activities.
  • Watch from the shadows. The moon will reflect a lot of light August 11-12, obscuring many of the dimmer meteors. Find an observation spot where terrain or vegetation blocks the moon from view. That way, you will be able to see more of the meteor trails without the moon’s interference.
  • Enjoy the shower lying down. Sky watching is always more enjoyable on your back. Looking up for long periods of time while sitting or standing can be a pain in the neck—literally. Bring along a blanket. A cushion adds an extra level of comfort on rocky or uneven ground.

 

Sometimes It Pays to Buck Conventional Wisdom
Case in point: Most anglers fish deep when it’s hot because that’s where many of the fish have gone. Yet some of the biggest fish can still be found in the shallows. Plus, if you fish the shallows, there are no crowds to fight, and you have your pick of the best spots.

This is only one example of how it sometimes pays to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to experiment with others.

 

Outdoor App of the Month: Sky Map
Sky Map is a popular app for identifying planets, stars, constellations, and other astronomical bodies and events. It rates high among users—50 million of them.

Sky Map is only available for Android devices, but iOS users have similar options. One of them is Night Sky 4.

Both apps are available in free versions.

What’s So Special About August?
August is Family Fun Month and National Catfish Month.
August 4: U.S. Coast Guard Day.
August 10: National S’mores Day.
August 31: National Trail Mix Day.

 

Show-and-Tell Time
Send us your favorite outdoor tip, photo or story. If selected for publication, we will send you $25 for one-time use of the item. When sending a photo, identify people and pets, and tell us the story behind the picture. Email your submission to gro.etilarurnull@ofni.