22Aug2019

Meteor Showers From Your Campsite

Meteor Showers From Your Campsite

The night skies will be ablaze with some major meteor showers all across the continental United States this year, and there will be multiple chances for campers to experience these incredible celestial wonders of the universe.

Put simply, meteor showers are the frequent display of what many people refer to as “shooting stars.” As this phenomenon occurs, meteors streak across the night sky at between 10 and 100 per hour. According to NASA, this happens when asteroid debris (known as meteoroids) enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Pieces of that debris then burn out in a sparkling spectacle as they pass through our atmosphere, forming meteors.

Meteor showers are generally named after the constellation from which the majority of these shooting stars appear to originate.  That being said, in the case of the famous Perseid meteor shower, the optimal place to view it would be to point your telescope toward the constellation Perseus — which would be considered the ‘radiant’ of the meteor shower.

The advantage of being an RV camper is that campgrounds generally have less light pollution, less noise, and offer a wide-open and uninterrupted view of the sky. Although you can certainly observe these spectacles through the windows of your camper or motor coach, we suggest taking a lounge chair or snuggly sleeping bag outside to get the most out of your experience.

Here is a list of the major meteor showers that remain for the 2019 calendar year, as well as a campground recommendation for each event. Using these suggestions, you can find a camping location option nearest you with the same exposure to the night sky.

One added challenge for meteor shower camping in 2019 will be the alignment of the full, or nearly-full, moon during several of the most famous showers. The Perseid, Geminid, and Lyrid will all be washed out to some degree by the moon’s light, so it’s worth researching the moon phases in a given month. Keep in mind, however, that the ‘peak’ times and dates provided below are not the entirety of the event. Camping just before or after the peak of a meteor shower will still likely provide a higher than average number of shooting stars.

OCTOBER 22: ORIONIDS METEOR SHOWER

If you’re looking for a great excuse to go RVing on the East Coast in Autumn, the Orionid meteor shower is something to consider. Although it’s estimated to peak on the night of October 22nd, the sky will have cleared from summer’s persistent humidity, and temperatures should be tepid.

The Orionid shower is well known for its “persistent trains” (when a meteor leaves a trail through the sky for several seconds after passing), and although sometimes faint, their radiant point is in the constellation of Orion, which does not rise until the early morning.

CAMP AT: BLACKWOODS CAMPGROUND, ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

  • Daily Rates: $30 + Park entrance fees
  • # of RV Sites: 306
  • Full Hookups: No
  • 30/50 Amp: No
  • Back-in/Pull-through Sites: Both
  • Pool/Hot tub: No
  • Playground: No
  • Showers: Fee showers, 1/2 mile away
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Other Amenities Free shuttle around the island, evening programs, fire rings.

NOVEMBER 11-12: TAURIDS METEOR SHOWER

Viewing the Taurid meteor shower during its peak over November 11th and 12th may not provide the meteor frequency of other showers. The big appeal, however, is that when these meteors do appear, they often have bright, persistent trails which resemble fireballs. You may have to wait quite a bit longer to see one, but the reward is well worth the time. Once again, the early morning hours are the best time, looking to the west-southwest near the constellation Taurus.

CAMP AT: FLAMINGO CAMPGROUND, EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK

  • Daily Rates: $16 (lowest price paid)
  • # of RV Sites: 278
  • Elevation: 2 feet
  • Maximum Stay: 14 nights
  • Maximum Length: 45 feet
  • Campfires: Allowed
  • Pets: Allowed
  • Electricity / Sewage Hookups: Yes
  • Potable Water: Available
  • Showers: Available
  • Picnic Tables: Available

NOVEMBER 18: LEONIDS METEOR SHOWER

This meteor shower is famous for its variability. In the past century, the Leonids have actually produced what’s known as a ‘meteor storm,’ where literally thousands of meteors would fall every hour!  Sadly, 2019 is not predicted to be one of those years — where you can only expect about 15 per hour with a relatively low-to-horizon radiant.

November 18th will be the day to step outside your RV and view the Leonids, although the waning gibbous moon will slightly interfere with this. 

CAMP AT: JOSHUA TREE LAKE CAMPGROUND, JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

  • RV Camping with power & water
  • Fishing at the lake which features a lakeside pavilion
  • Wireless Internet (fee for service)
  • Hot showers and toilets
  • Picnic area available for day use
  • Drive up tent camping area
  • Playground for children 10 and under
  • Dump station: campers & drive-ins
  • Rental for group functions, weddings, festivals, & events

DECEMBER 14: GEMINIDS METEOR SHOWER

Set up with a cozy spot in a wide-open field to enjoy the show. The Geminids are quite possibly the most famous meteor shower of the year. They are known for consistently producing bright, white meteors around 2:00 AM local time, on or around December 14th. On a dark evening, the rates average 50 meteors an hour. Regrettably, the shower will be a little washed out by another bright moon — but astronomers suggest that the Geminid shower will still provide many observable meteors despite the moonlight. 

CAMP AT: SOL DUC HOT SPRINGS RV & CAMPGROUND, OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WA

  • The RV Park is a gravel parking lot with 17 RV sites. Bumper logs provide greater delineation of RV sites. There is limited privacy in this area. Back-in spaces only. No pull-through sites offered.
  • RV Park sites are equipped with frost-free water hydrants and water lines, lighted power pedestals with 50-amp connections.
  • A dump station, managed by the National Park Service is available onsite for a $10.00 use fee. 
  • Two vehicles are allowed per site (one being the RV). All other vehicles must be parked in the Amphitheater parking lot, located 100 yards distance from the RV Park.
  • 2 ADA RV Par sites are available, which include two ADA benches and two ADA fire rings. Additionally, 3/8” cracked gravel exists providing a level ground surface.
  • Sleeping tents are not permitted. Gazebos or screened rooms are permitted but cannot be used for sleeping; this includes kid “pup tents”.

DECEMBER 23: URSIDS METEOR SHOWER

Camping out for the Ursid meteor shower is a lovely way to wrap up a year of camping for meteor showers. Although the shower is not particularly brilliant most years, averaging around five to ten meteor showers per hour, the waning crescent moon and crisp, clear winter air will make a lovely backdrop for the show. You’ll want to layer up to watch the peak during the pre-dawn hours of December 23rd. For all these meteor showers in the ‘off season,’ make sure that the campground you choose is open year-round.

CAMP AT: RIO GRANDE VILLAGE RV CAMPGROUND, BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

  • Open: Year-round
  • Elevation: 1,800 ft.
  • Details: 25-site concession-operated RV park (full hook-ups—water, electrical, and 3-inch sewer connection). $33, double occupancy, with a $3 additional per person charge. Periodically, a few sites may not be available for a 40′ or longer RVs due to the size of the parking lot and orientation of the spaces. are available.
  • Reservable Campsites: 20 sites are available by reservation, 5 are held for first come, first-served campers. Register at the Rio Grande Village store/service station, or call 1-877-386-4383, or 432-477-2293.