Any stargazing fans out there? Those along the Northern Hemisphere are in for a dazzling display because this week, nature’s annual Perseid meteor shower will be giving stargazers a one-of-a-kind light show with up to 100 shooting stars illuminating the sky every hour. The meteor shower will peak tonight and early tomorrow morning and, according to NASA, this is the first time since 2007 that the Perseids overlaps with a new moon, meaning this year’s meteor showers will be accompanied by pitch black skies. A perfect recipe for stargazing!
Not sure where to catch this “shooting star” display? Here are some of the best venues to enjoy nature’s celestial show in Utah.
- Bryce Canyon National Park—While many come to Bryce Canyon National Park during the day for its intriguing hoodoos formations, the park also offers pristine views of the starry night skies, making it one of the most desirable locations for stargazing. In fact, the night sky gets so dark that visitors can see up to 10,000 stars on a moonless night, making this venue our top viewing destination to enjoy this year’s Perseid meteor show. Just be sure to bring some jackets and blankets to stay warm.
- Wasatch Front— Tonight the South Physics Observatory at the University of Utah will be holding a free stargazing party open to the public starting at 9 p.m. in honor of this year’s meteor shower. Guests are welcome to watch from the roof of the south physics building on campus and through telescopes to get front row views of the dazzling display. This a rare chance for kids and parents alike to learn about the annual Perseid shower from different members of the physics and astronomy department. Click here for more details regarding tonight’s event!
- The Bonneville Salt Flats—What better place to stargaze than from a place that looks out of this world? For the ultimate cosmic experience, head to Bonneville Salt Flats where the vast expanse of 30,000 flat acres west of the Salt Lake Valley offers a break from city light pollution and the low, flat horizon provides a vantage point for wide open skies. Unfortunately, there’s no overnight camping permitted, so if you’re planning to make it an all-nighter, you should plan to stay in Wendover (only 10 miles away). Otherwise, find a spot where you can park and put out a blanket or some lawn chairs. Then just sit back and enjoy the meteor show.
- Emigration Canyon—Perfect for casual hikes and bike rides, Emigration Canyon is considered to be a favorite outdoor destination among locals. It’s also a convenient location for watching meteor showers. Stargazers can venture 3-4 miles up the canyon road and park along the side by one of the park’s many pull-out areas for prime viewing spots. We recommend grabbing some lawn chairs for comfy seating and plenty of blankets to keep warm out there.
- Antelope Island—While Antelope Island is primarily known for its friendly bison and great hikes, the state park’s offset location also provides some of the best protection from city lights, making it another great spot to stargaze. Consider making this an overnight experience by camping out with family and friends and sleeping under the stars. For more information on star watching and camping at Antelope Island, click here.
- Your Own Backyard—You don’t have to travel miles for the best star-viewing spot in Utah. Your own backyard provides an equally amazing and arguably a more intimate stargazing experience. Gather some blankets and pillows and set up a little stargazing station with an assortment of themed-snacks like mini Milky Way candy bars, starry cheese with moon crackers or constellations cupcakes to accompany the main the event.
- Anywhere with an Internet Connection—Can’t make it outdoors for some reason? NASA plans to livestream the shower, from 8 p.m. MT tonight through 12 a.m. Thursday, at this link.
Where are you planning on watching Perseid meteor shower? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section below!