How to watch the Perseid meteor shower near Kansas City

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

The Perseid meteor shower — aka the Perseids (PER-see-ids) — 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 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 July and August.

Where to go

When choosing a spot to watch the Perseids, aim for a location that is away from man-made light. This light pollution map will show you where to find a dark sky. Also, here are some spots that we suggest:

Wyandotte County Lake | 6136 West Dr., Kansas City, KS | You’ll still get a little light pollution, but it’s among the best spots within the immediate metro. City Editor Travis was even able to see Comet NEOWISE. We recommend the dam with nearby parking and a big grass hill for laying out.

Hillsdale Lake | 26000 W. 255th St., Paola, KS | For residents down south and on the Kansas side, this spot lies on the outskirts of major light pollution. Note: depending where you end up, you may have to pay a state park fee.

Smithville Lake | 17201 Paradesian St., Smithville, MO | The least light pollution for our Northlanders + Missouri side. Drive around to find a quick pull-off or take to one of the area parks.

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 northward 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 Dot’s Pretzels (made in Edgerton, not far from Hillsdale lake) from your favorite gas station (we know it’s probably QT) in case you get hungry.