When you look into the sky on a clear night in the Boundary Waters it’s difficult to not be in awe. The night sky is filled with stars shining in different degrees of brightness as their reflection sparkles on the water’s calm surface. The constellations can be seen easier in the wilderness than in a planetarium. Without the lights of a city or street to interfere the stargazing in the BWCA is incredible.
The sky changes it’s appearance each month as the moon waxes and wanes. Some nights when the moon is full it’s like someone turned on a bright spotlight. Other nights when a new moon is approaching it is near impossible to make out the shape of your hand right in front of your face.
The northern lights are a great reason to gaze into the night sky. I’ve heard they have been out dancing with their colors of blue, pink, yellow and green. They are a mysterious phenomonen and one can’t help but feel special to view them.
The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is quickly approaching on the 12th of August. Falling or shooting stars as they are sometimes called can be seen both before and after this date and in their peak one meteor will fall each minute. Meteor showers are named after the constellation they appear to fall from, in this case it is Perseus. The bright lights will flare in the sky and you can trace their origin back to Perseus which rises in the Northeast sky around 11 pm. The best time to see the showers are right after midnight when there is usually a sharp increase in numbers.
Stargazing is just another great reason to visit the Boundary Waters or Quetico Park. Find yourself a campsite, lay out a blanket and be ready for a show that is better than any 4th of July fireworks.