Home Featured My Mostly Failed Attempt To Capture The Perseid Meteor Shower

My Mostly Failed Attempt To Capture The Perseid Meteor Shower

by Adam Doolittle
Perseid Meteor Shower Prince Edward Island

This summer has been amazing – a lot of sun and very little rain. So it figures that on the day when the Perseid meteor shower was to reach its peak it rained and was cloudy over Prince Edward Island. At its peak, the Perseid meteor shower was supposed to display as many as 200 meteors in the peak hour of 3 am on August 12th. I had planned with Eric and Rosie, who are here at Jellystone, to go up to the North Shore of the Island to take in the shower. We were going to specifically hit the beach at Cavendish that is normally overrun with tourists. We hoped that those tourists would be exchanged for meteors. Unfortunately, like I mentioned, it rained that night and it was mostly cloudy. This meant that we made the sad decision to not venture out at the early hours of the morning figuring we’d be wasting our time. Based on what I read, a lot of Canada was cloud covered on the morning of the 12th meaning very few people got to experience the peak of the meteor shower.

Second Attempt

Although the peak of the Perseid meteor shower was on the 12th, the three of us had decided that if the weather was more cooperative the next evening that we would once again try to catch some meteors flying across the dark night sky. Everything that I read said that there would still be plenty of meteors throughout the night, just not as many as there was on the morning of the 12th.

Throughout most of the next day (still technically the 12th), it was cloudy and rainy, but around 7pm it started to clear in Borden-Carleton so our hopes returned that we could see the meteor shower. I messaged Eric and said, “I think the clouds are clearing. Do you still want to go up to Cavendish?” He replied with a yes and that was that – we were going up to Cavendish to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

After a 45 minute drive through the dark and winding roads of the Island, we arrived in Cavendish around 11:45pm. We drove down to the National Park and proceeded to the beach parking lot. Cavendish at night is A LOT different than Cavendish during the day. Not only are there ZERO tourists at night, it’s also really, really dark. After our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could start to make out the silhouette of the famous Cavendish dunes. Had I never previously been to Cavendish beach, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to go but after a quick walk, we were on the beach.

Cavendish Beach Night Lifeguard Tower

An unattended lifeguard tower

As soon as we hit the red sand, all three of us looked up and stared. We didn’t really like what we saw. Clouds. Again. Why? It was a beautiful, calm night though and we weren’t going to be completely defeated. Eric and Rosie planted a beach towel on the sand and laid down and gazed up at the sky hoping for some clearing. While they were doing that, I was roaming the beach with my camera. The goal of the night was to take some long exposures with my camera and hopefully capture some meteors. I knew that wasn’t going to happen in Cavendish simply because of the cloud coverage but I decided to try and take some decent long exposures of the beach. I managed to snap off a couple good pictures which made the trip to Cavendish worth it.

Cavendish Beach Night

The beach is just a tad quieter than it is during the day when it’s overrun with tourists.

Cavendish Beach Dunes Night

To the naked eye, this dune was just a dark silhouette but with a nice long exposure, I got it to show itself just a bit.

Off To Bonshaw

It was while I was snapping pictures that I had the idea to stop by Bonshaw Provincial Park on the way home. I had read the other day that near that area are some of the darkest skies in PEI. I pitched the idea to Eric and Rosie who happily accepted the offer. After shaking off the beach sand, we were back in the car and heading to Bonshaw. 40 minutes later, we jumped out of the car, hoping for better luck. Nope. Clouds. Still. Why?

Finally, A Break!

We were kind of defeated at this point and realized that we were likely out of luck in regards to seeing the Perseid meteor shower. Back in the car we were, heading back to Borden-Carleton when Eric and I noticed that the sky was pretty much clear over the South Shore. We called an instant audible and made our way for the shore. We were determined now to see some meteors.

Around 2am we arrived just outside of Victoria-By-The-Sea where we parked on the side of the road. Out we got from the car, peering instantly at the sky above. Finally. NO CLOUDS! There were stars everywhere. We could easily make out the milky way and we were certain that we were finally going to see the Perseid meteor shower.

I feverishly set up my camera tripod and aimed my camera at the milky way and instantly started shooting some long exposures in attempt to catch a meteor on camera. It was while the camera was taking pictures that we started to see some meteors. Some trails were short bursts of light travelling through the dark sky while others were very, very long trails. I can’t even imagine how much distance those meteors that we saw actually travelled in that quick second that we saw them.

After seeing probably a dozen meteors, the three of us decided that we were happily satisfied with our experience in getting to witness the Perseid meteor shower. It took multiple attempts but we did it. I was still interested in seeing whether or not I got any of the meteors on camera.

I Got One!

As soon as I crawled out of bed in the morning, I hooked my camera up to the computer and uploaded all of the photos that I took during the early morning. A quick look through the photos showed that I mostly failed at capturing a meteor on camera, but a second look through the photos and I spotted this one. Can you see the nice long trail? That’s a meteor!

Perseid Meteor Shower Prince Edward Island

It’s just a faint line, but that’s a meteor!

Yes – I mostly failed at my attempts to capture meteors on camera but that’s ok. I still had a great time exploring the Island through the early morning hours with my great company, Eric and Rosie. There are some other meteor showers scheduled for this year, so who knows, maybe I’ll be able to capture more meteors wherever I am in Canada at that time.

 

Were you able to see the Perseid Meteor Shower? Tell us about it! Where were you? How late did you stay up? How many meteors did you see?

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