The summer has entered its final trimester and, despite still feeling somehow blessed by the untypical amounts of sunlight your skin has seen this year, you might also have come to realise there’s only so many BBQs, pool parties and sunshine one can bear. Your skin is the shade of lobster red, your liver is making time and a half every weekend and you’ve really started to relish lying indoors and staring at the ceiling. So, this week at citysocializer, we decided to put together a guide to a chilled yet seasonal activity, which involves a whole lot of lying about and gazing.
For centuries, the beauty of and immensity of star-speckled sky has found a way to manifest itself through the works of some of the world’s most renowned artists, authors and alike; from Van Gogh’s paintings to Bowie’s space oddities. However to us common folk, the best part of this kind of splendour is quite obviously that it’s an alternative to spending the nights turning and tossing in your bed because it’s too.darn.hot1
While it has been commonly agreed that winter is the best season for this hobby due to significantly clearer sky and overwhelming amounts of darkness, summer happens to be the time of the year when this hobby is a lot easier to pursue, without the chance of frostbite. Besides, as you’re reading this post, the annual Perseid meteor shower is on its way, referred to as the “favourite meteor shower of the year”.
The August Perseid meteor shower is to take place during the nights of August 11 and 12 allowing you to witness as many as 50 meteors per hour – but before you start making excuses for pulling a sickie at work, be aware that, to a lesser extent, the meteors will also be visible for a week or more before the peak nights.
Despite of the image some movies have painted you of crashing on the grass and marvelling away, the light pollution is a major challenge for most of the city dwellers, making the right equipment and location crucial for this pastime. If a £100 beginner telescope isn’t on your shopping (or Christmas) list, keep an eye out for events organised by the local astronomy clubs. Alternatively, the website of a project called Dark Sky Discovery could help you nail the best stargazing spots within the country – even one in London where you can see all seven of Orion’s main stars with a naked eye.
For the fun part
If you’re planning a stargazing trip with a group of friends, here are some fun facts you can spout at random to impress everyone with your knowledge:
- The name of the Perseid meteor shower derives from the word Perseides – the sons of Perseus in Greek mythology
- The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for over 2000 years
- In Catholic tradition, the shower is sometimes referred as “the tears of St.Lawrence”
Have you found any good stargazing locations in your city? Let us know in the comments below!