See the Perseid Meteor Shower on Cape Cod
Cape Cod is one of the best locations for stargazing and enjoying the night sky. Enjoy the Perseid meteor shower on the Outer Cape.
One on the Cape is reminded just how removed they are from the hustle and bustle of city life when they look up on a clear night. Cape Cod is one of the best locations for stargazing, due to its location out in the Atlantic Ocean away from the mainland.
Ambitious watchers of the night sky meet in dark parks, on beaches, and at state reservations to catch beautiful views of the night sky. Viewing parties are often organized by the Cape Cod Astronomical Society and meet at the Werner Schmidt Observatory in South Yarmouth.
The best spots to view the night sky are dark areas away from street lamps, houses, and major roadways. State and national parks are great places to catch an expansive view of the sky, and park rangers at the Province Lands Visitor Center and the Salt Pond Visitor Center host stargazing sessions throughout the summer. Bring a simple pair of binoculars or invest in a telescope of your own. Many stargazers have their own equipment and are happy to share with a fellow night sky enthusiast.
TIP: On viewing party nights, seek out one of the astronomers and ask about the specific celestial bodies and constellations in view that evening.
Perseids Meteor Shower
Stargazing parties assemble throughout summer nights, and August is one of the best months to enjoy the night sky due to the yearly Perseid meteor shower. Visible from August 11th through the 15th, the meteor shower treats viewers to a spectacle of thousands of shooting stars falling to earth. Lay out a blanket or lawn chair in your favorite spot and watch the multi-colored streaks light show as the meteors burn in the atmosphere.
TIP: To learn why some meteors glow different colors when burning up, join a stargazing party hosted by local astronomers.
Another astronomical body that rewards viewers with a spectacular view is the Sturgeon full moon. Visible rising from the east, sky watchers will be in for a breathtaking moonrise over the ocean from favorite view spots at Bearberry Hill in Provincetown and Truro, and the beachfront at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet.
In the heat of the summer, some moonrises may reward you with dramatic colors, like a blood-red moon or a classic yellow moon.
For adventurous stargazers that want a closeup experience of space from the comfort of their home planet, the Werner Schmidt Observatory features a powerful 16-inch GPS-guided telescope under a rotating dome. The Observatory provides valuable scientific research to institutions around the world while entertaining visitors with an unrivaled view of the universe. Glimpse bands of the Milky Way or view the Orion Nebula when visiting the Observatory grounds.
Camping Under the Stars
There is no better way to enjoy the night sky than camping out underneath it. Pitch a tent or just roll a sleeping bag out under the stars and curl up next to a campfire at the North of Highland Camping Area.
TIP: Call ahead to reserve yourself a spot during the busy summer months. Enjoy the night sky while giving your wallet a break!
Avoid the heat and crowds of daytime and take to the outer Cape’s best trails at night for a midnight hike. The Fort Hill Trail in Eastham provides a smooth solid surface with some log steps on slopes and inclines, for a scenic nighttime view. Also consider the Great Island Trail, a winding path leading through dunes and woods down to an expanse of beach, with spectacular nighttime views of Cape Cod Bay and the night sky above.
Long Exposure Photography
Photographers and enthusiasts alike will love the opportunity to photograph the night sky on the outer Cape. Using a DSLR camera, set up in a prime viewing spot on the beach or along a trail to take long exposure pictures of the landscape and night sky. The longer the exposure setting is, the more star’s you’ll capture! Photogenic spots include Wood End Lighthouse in Provincetown and Nauset Beach Light in Eastham.
TIP: Try using a tripod or a flat surface to set your camera on so you won’t get blurry and shaky images.
Written by Digital Content Coordinator, Greg Miller
Images by Photographer, Ethan Miller
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