Bright Lights in the Boundary Waters

While out canoe camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness you don’t expect to see bright lights. That’s what makes camping in a wilderness area all the more fun. However, there are some instances when you might see some unusual lights like the blinking of a firefly, the dancing of the northern lights, the filtered light of a full moon or if you’re really lucky you’ll see a meteor shower.  The end of July the Delta Aquarid shower begins and they usually last well into August when the Perseids begin so if you’re planning a BWCA camping trip for this time of the summer you’re in for a treat.

Here’s some terrific information from SpaceWeather authors Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd about the Qauariid meteors and Perseids.

Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower- Named  after their apparent “radiant” point in the constellation Aquarius, near one of its brightest stars, Eta Aquarii and caused by Halleys Comet.

When- July 12th to August 23rd

Peak Dates- July 27 & 28th

Best Time- 2AM

Anything Special?  5-10 percent leave tails

How many an hour? 10-20

Radiate From- The radiant point of the Delta Aquariid shower nearly aligns with the star Skat (Delta Aquarii). The meteor shower is named in honor of this star.

Perseids- Named after the constellation Perseus and made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

When- July 17th to August 24th

Peak Dates- August 12th & 13th

Best Time- after midnight right before dawn or before the moon rises

Anything Special?  Earthgrazers may be viewed from 9:30-10:30pm as the shower’s radiant climbs over the northeastern horizon. Earthgrazers are slow and colorful.

How many an hour? 60-100

Radiate From- constellation Perseus, near the famous Double Cluster


Watching for Meteor Helpful Hints

Prepare to spend a minimum of an hour beneath a dark sky(it takes 20-40 minutes for your eyes to adjust)

Best viewing is when the moon is new and there are no artificial lights or clouds

Bring a blanket, lawnchair or hammock & find an unobstructed view of the full sky

If you have access to a boat, dock or other watercraft consider lying down out on a lake

Be prepared for bugs with proper clothing, netting or spray

Bring along something to eat or drink

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