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How to see the Perseid Meteor shower in 2023

silhouette of trees and mountain under blue starry sky, Perseid meteor shower

The rainy season is in full swing in most parts of West Africa, and the skies are often cloudy. However, there is a chance that we will have clear skies this August, and if we do, we will be treated to a spectacular celestial event: the Perseid meteor shower. This awe-inspiring meteor shower is a favourite among skywatchers, delivering a thrilling display of shooting stars. While it is best seen in the Northern Hemisphere during summer, it is also visible in Ghana and other parts of West Africa.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by tiny debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. Approximately every 133 years, this comet’s orbit brings it close to Earth, leaving a trail of space debris. When our planet crosses through this trail, the debris enters our atmosphere and ignites, resulting in the radiant display we know as the Perseid meteor shower.

Optimal time and spotting

Here’s how you can enjoy this celestial spectacle:

  • Dark Skies: To experience the meteor shower to the fullest, find a location away from bright city lights. This will enhance your visibility of the shooting stars.
  • After Midnight: The best time to observe the Perseids is after midnight. As the skies darken, the meteor shower’s radiant point will rise higher, offering a better view.
  • Locating the Radiant: To spot the meteor shower, locate the constellation Perseus. While its radiant point is traditionally used to determine the shower’s name, you can simply enjoy the meteors without identifying this specific constellation.

Dates for the Perseid Meteor Shower in 2023

This year, the Perseid meteor shower is set to peak on the night of August 12-13. While the shower’s activity spans from July 17 to August 24, this peak period offers the most remarkable show. It’s important to note that while summer in other parts of the world may coincide with this meteor shower, in Ghana, August marks the rainy season and much of the skies are cloudy—not ideal for meteor watching.

Preparation Tips for the Perseid Meteor Shower

If you’re planning to witness the Perseid meteor shower in Ghana in 2023, remember these simple tips:

  • Location Matters: Choose a spot away from bright lights for the best meteor visibility. Move away from the city centres of Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale. Get a safe mountain if you are in locations like Ho, Koforidua, Kwahu and Nakpanduri.
  • Lying Back and Looking Up: Lie down comfortably and gaze upward to catch the meteors streaking across the sky.
  • Patience Pays Off: Watching for meteors requires patience. Some meteors may take a moment to appear.
  • Educate love ones on meteors: In many parts of Ghana and West Africa, there is a myth that shooting stars are associated with death of important people.
  • Stay Cozy: Bring a blanket or something comfy to sit on while you observe the meteor shower.
  • Get a Closer Look: If you have binoculars or a telescope, they can provide a more detailed view of the meteors.
  • Share the Experience: Capture the magic in photos or share your experience with friends and family on social media.

Whether you’re a seasoned skywatcher or just curious about the wonders of the universe, this celestial event is a remarkable sight to behold. So, gather your loved ones, find a cozy spot, and prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Perseid meteor shower as it graces the Ghanaian skies in August 2023.


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