One of the great benefits of traveling by RV is the ability to find wide-open spaces away from city lights so you can truly enjoy stars, planets and galaxies the way they were meant to be enjoyed. That becomes even more special when meteor showers roll around. Thankfully, each year you can pretty much set your watch when they will take place.
Several nights ago I headed out to Joshua Tree National Park to enjoy the annual Perseid meteor shower. Always one of the best shows of the year, this particular show was even better this year because there was no moon to wash out the dozens of darting, colorful light trails and tails. The Perseid is the most popular meteor shower as it peaks on warm August nights as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 24. They typically reach their maximum on August 12 or 13 from dark locations at a rate of about 50-75 meteors per hour. I saw several dozen per hour the other night, ranging from small, lightning-fast white-yellow streaks to longer, exquisite tails that were purple, orange, and scarlet.
Joshua Tree National Park is perfect to view meteor showers
The park is so vast it was easy to find a quiet service road leading out several hundred yards away from the main road. The desert at night, especially during the summer, is already a magical environment. The various sages and other desert plants give off wonderful aromas, and warm breezes softly blow through most of the night. Coyotes and other nocturnal creatures cautiously patrol their environs, and desert spaces feel much more alive than during the day. Add to this dramatic environment a sky full of shooting stars, and you may never want to leave.
The American Meteor Society publishes a comprehensive list of meteor showers for the year. You’ve still got time left to enjoy some of the most remarkable sites you may ever see in your life. And, of course, the sky is free. Take some time to find a naturally dark space and I can promise you, if the timing is right and you’re out there on the peak night of a meteor shower, you will never forget it.
Upcoming meteor showers:
Next up are the Orionids: October 2, 2021, to November 7, 2021
Then the Southern Taurids: September 10, 2021, to November 20, 2021
Northern Taurids: October 20, 2021, to December 10, 2021
Leonids: November 6, 2021, to November 30, 2021
Geminids: December 4, 2021, to December 17, 2021
Ursids: December 17, 2021, to December 26, 2021
And finally for the year, Quadrantids: December 27, 2021, to January 10, 2022
Chris Epting is an author, award-winning journalist/photographer and dedicated road tripper. His best-selling books including James Dean Died Here (the locations of America’s pop culture landmarks), Roadside Baseball, and The Birthplace Book, along with many others that remain popular with many travelers and RVers throughout the country and world. He is excited to be contributing to RVTravel.com and looks forward to helping to lead you places you may not have discovered otherwise. You may learn more about Chris at his author’s site, www.chrisepting.com.