How to watch the Perseid meteor shower in Columbia, SC

Have you ever seen a shooting star? What about 100?

The Perseid meteor showeraka the Perseids — is predicted to take place throughout July and August. The shower happens when Earth passes through the trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, offering spectators across the globe the opportunity to see ~100 meteors per hour when the shower is at its peak.

Ready to go meteor hunting? Check out our guide below.

When to view

The best time to watch the meteor shower is late at night or in the predawn hours during its peak from Thurs., Aug. 11-Sat., Aug. 13. These days will provide the opportunity to see the brightest + most numerous meteors.

However, because of the full Sturgeon moon on Thurs., Aug. 11, the showers are expected to be washed out. On this night, the sky will be the darkest right before dawn.

Bonus: Even if you can’t watch the Perseid meteor shower during its peak, you can still catch views of the shower throughout August.

Where to go

When choosing a spot to watch the Perseids, aim for a location that is away from man-made light. Here are some spots that we suggest:

Lake Murray | Put-in locations vary but the local lake has 11+ public lake access points in addition to multiple marina locations.

Dreher Island State Park | 3677 State Park Rd. | If you don’t have a way to view Perseids from the water, we recommend staying a few nights at a campground on Dreher Island State Park to soak up the last bit of summer + catch a few star showers at dawn.

The comfort of your home | Our local SC State Museum hosts Virtual Planetarium Sky Tours on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month on its Facebook page. Experts showcase virtual exploration of the stars, planets, and constellations you can observe in the night sky while in your PJs. Our recommendation? Pop some popcorn and follow along this Thurs., Aug. 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Pro tip: You don’t need binoculars or a telescope to view the Perseids. If you have trouble finding the shower, make sure you are looking at the darkest part of the sky and allow your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness.

What to bring

  • Blanket
  • Light jacket (or even a sleeping bag)
  • Chairs
  • A red flashlight (learn how to make your own.)

Pro tip: Pick up local produce, crunchy snacks like pea protein salt and vinegar chips, and dark chocolate from Uncle Willie’s Grocery Store (2205 Main St.) in case you get hungry.

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