Next Year: Lights Out For the Perseids

Yesterday, even if I’m located in the light polluted Montreal suburb, I decided to head out at quarter to midnight to see if I could by chance spot one or two bright meteors from the Perseids shower. As luck would have it in the 15 minutes doesn’t looking around Cassiopeia I spotted two before clouds and a rising moon sent me indoors.

But during that time scanning and waiting, it got me thinking… It took me a good minute to find a suitable spot in my backyard free of the light from the neighbours’ houses and street lights. If there was less light pollution we could have darker skies and everyone could enjoy the show.

During Earth Hour people are asked to turn off the lights for one hour to support the fight for climate change. But I always found that pretty pointless.  If you want to fight climate change, it’s an every day affaire, in your daily routine and the choices you have as a consumer, not one hour in an entire year. So the one hour lights out is more of a gimmick, doesn’t really benefit anyone. But if we had an evening of lights out during the peak of the Perseids meteor shower wouldn’t that be great!

The Perseids falls in August when it’s warm and sitting outside past sunset in the cooling air is enjoyable. Kids don’t have school so they can stay up late. And the patio furniture is out, that’s all the required equipment.

So what do you say? Light out for the 2018 Perseids? I think that’s a worthwhile collective movement.

Perseid Peaking Tonight


The Perseid meteor shower is scheduled to peak tonight, but a large Moon will ruin the show. The best time is tonight (August 12) after 11pm, looking north-east.

While the sky directly overhead may look darker, it’s better to look 45degrees over the horizon to see a thicker “slice” of the atmosphere.

August 12th – No Perseids but did get some constellations


The 2015 Perseids were predicted to be great, largely thanks to Mother Nature turning off its night-light (aka our Moon).  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as cooperative…  With clouds over the horizon I knew my window to try to capture some Perseids was quickly vanishing.  Nevertheless I setup my camera on a tripod and hoped for the best.

The best I got was 13 shots without clouds.  A quick scan of them did not reveal any notable meteor streak.  But it wasn’t all a waste.  I was able to process, align and stack them to provide a good 60deg field of view around the zenith.

Constellations Draco, Lyra, Cygnus and Vulpecula 13 x 30sec (17mm F4.0 ISO400) 12-aug-2015 Benoit Guertin

Constellations Draco, Lyra, Cygnus and Vulpecula
13 x 30sec (17mm F4.0 ISO400)
Benoit Guertin

Canon XTi
17mm F4.0 ISO400
13 x 30sec
Fixed mount, no tracking