GRAVENHURST, ON – Visitors and residents alike ooh and ahh at the scenery cottage country has to offer. 

But the night sky will be taking centre stage from August 11th to 13th.

The Perseid Meteor showers will dazzle people with up to 50 sightings per hour.

This annual event is the result of the earth moving through the remnants of melting comet tails. As the sun hits the icy rock formations in tail hundreds of tons of material are thrown into space per second.

On the earth’s yearly trip around the sun it encounters these same areas of discarded material. The rock and frozen dirt entering earth’s atmosphere burns up from friction, resulting in the stunning light show.

Most of the sparkling meteors seen in the sky no bigger than a grain of sand. That is in stark contrast to the near-miss experienced by earthlings last month when a city-killer meteor came within 45,000 miles of the planet – in space terms, a near miss. It had the rough dimensions of a football field.

Astronomers say the best viewing time is between midnight and 5:00am.

Muskoka boasts one of Canada’s 19 Dark Sky Preserves – the Torrance Barrens Conservation Reserve. Hundreds of people descend on the light pollution-free area about a half-hour west of Gravenhurst.

While other areas boast being light-free the clarity of the sky at Torrance Barrens is the reason so many people make the trek.

The great thing about watching the Perseid is you only need a bit of patience, a comfy chair and a good forecast. 

There is a website dedicated to what the sky forecast is going to be – but it is a throwback to another era of the internet. Functional, but not beautiful. Click here for the Clear Sky forecast page.