The super moon shines down on us this Sunday in time for the annual Perseid meteor showers. Get some celestial tech help to witness the show in the heavens. Find out what to look for in binoculars and telescopes that can bring the heavenly bodies to your doorstep

Perseid meets the super moon

In Greek Mythology, Perseus is the hero who killed Medusa and then used her head to turn the sea monster keeping the beautiful Andromeda captive, for that deed he got a constellation named after him. Each August there is the meteor shower from its namesake constellation. The Persesids are actually leftovers particles from the Swift-Tuttle comet as it returns to the inner solar system. Since they radiate near the Perseid constellation, they share the same name.

They started on July 13 and will go until Aug 26 but are at their heaviest  from August 11 to the 13th. The Perseids are a favourite of celestial watchers since they can ben seen with the naked, especially during their peak period starting this Sunday. To see them, you just need to find a dark corner in your neighbourhood, throw down a blanket or comfortable chair and start gazing up at the heavens. Give yours eyes some time to get adjusted and you’ll soon see them streaking across the night sky.

This year the heavenly show by the Perseids meteors are happening at the same time as the super moon – a full moon closer than normal to the Earth so looks bigger and is brighter. This super moon on Sunday, Aug 10 will be 30% brighter than normal and look about 14% larger than normal. The extra lunar light means the Perseids showers are going to be a bit more washed out than normal. From the Northern Hemisphere, you can see a smattering of Perseid meteors in the evening hours. According to Bruce McClure, chief writer at EarthSky Tonight, the best viewing hours will probably be from about 2 a.m. until dawn on Aug 13.

Turn the binoculars up!

If you want some celestial tech support consider bringing a pair of binoculars or a telescope with you. Other than eyeglasses, binoculars are the most used optical equipment. Turning your binoculars to the night sky and you will be surprised at how much you can see.

The Vanguard 10 x 42 Binoculars are a great choice for viewing the night sky. When shopping for a good pair of astronomy binoculars, numbers are important. The first number is the magnification and the second number is the diameter in of the front lens in millimetres. The Vanguard will make objects appear 10 times closer using a lens that is 42 millimetres across.

It also has a wide viewing angle so you get a closer view of faraway objects – you’ll get a more sweeping view of the meteor shower with them and be able to see those moon craters up close.

The other important thing to look at is the type of lens on the binocular. The Vanguard uses premium extra-low dispersion glass (ED glass), giving you more control over aberrations in viewing. Chromatic aberration or colour fringing is the failure of the lenses to focus all the colours into the same point.

The result is a slightly blurred image, giving it the appearance of having a coloured ring around the edges. The amount of colour fringing you get depends on the dispersion of the glass lens. Extra-low ED glass means there is no viewing aberrations to distract you and it deliver higher-resolution colour and clarity.

Nitrogen charged and o-ring sealed make these binoculars waterproof – perfect for the protection The final element to look at is an ergonomic design. The Vanguard open-bridge design makes the binocular easy to hold and the rubber armoured magnesium coating allows for a better grip.

The Kenko UltraVIEW EX OP 8x 42mm Binoculars gives you eight times the magnification with a 42mm objective lens. Another problem with binoculars is low resolution and less contrast. Light travel through lens onto the roof prism and is reflected off the surfaces of the prism. All these reflections can cause the light to split into two out-of-phase beams. This “phase shift” creates low resolution.

Kenko UltraVIEW has Phase-corrected roof prisms for enhanced sharpness, and good light transmission and clarity. The lens is also multi-coated for superior viewing for 127.6m field of view at 1,000 metres. Easy to use, twist up eyecups, and a fully multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmission and brightness make the night skies easier to see.

Kenko UltraVIEW also feels great in your hands. It’s got a a durable polycarbonate lightweight body with an easy to grip rubber exterior that is impact resistant. It’s fully waterproof as well so you’re ready for whatever the elements through at you.


For an astronomer’s eye

If you are really serious about viewing outer space, you may want to consider investing in a telescope. Start off with a reasonably priced beginner’s model to get used to working with one. It’s takes some practice to develop an astronomer’s eye but is worth the effect to open up the universe.

The Bushnell Voyager 700x76mm Reflector Telescope gives amateur stargazers a pro-grade tool for checking out the night sky. It has everything a beginner needs to get started viewing the heavens. The two large 1.25″ diameter eyepieces (8mm, 12.5mm) give 150% more magnification which show the planets as discs rather than points of light.

Getting started with telescope can be a bit challenging so Bushnell Voyager created the Sky Tour talking headset that guides you through the constellations and planets. It makes it easier for you to focus on the object as it Illuminated Smart Mount points the way and lights up as you zero in on the object in question.

A LED Electronic Red Dot Finderscope keeps the Voyager views right side up and left-to-right correct matching what you see with unaided eyes. (It takes the confusion out of viewing the night sky since telescopes have a reversed image.) Discover constellations, mythology, and planets in the night sky right in your backyard.

If you’re looking for something easy to transport but still tough in the field, check out the U.S. Army 700×76 Reflector Telescope. The most important part of the telescope is the aperture – the diameter of its light-gathering lens. The bigger the aperture, the brighter the view. The U.S. Army has a three eyepiece magnification boosters at 35x, 57x and 175x offer great viewing range for observing the stars, seeing those craters on the super moon and other celestial landscapes.

The high-powered zoom is made even better with the special multi-coating to reduce glare and provide crisp image capture. It’s also go a sturdy U=Mount stand with an adjustable tripod – something as equally important as the optics. You want the telescope to stay steady while gazing at the star without being too heavy or cumbersome.

Start seeing the heavens up close and personal with the U.S. Army 700×76 Reflector Telescope.

Don’t worry if you miss this week’s super moon or the meteor shower. There will be other heavenly events to see. The new super moon will be on September. The Orionoids show up in early October until November followed by the Northern Taurids in mid-October until early-December. The Leonids are active during November.

Find the perfect set of binoculars for your night viewing with the Best Buy collection.

There’s also plenty to other choices for telescopes so you can find the one that suits your star-gazing needs.



Shelagh McNally
I’ve been covering technology since 1992 and I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. I enjoy following the trends, spotting the winners and losers and teaching consumers how to get the best products and services for their needs. My work has been published in the National Post, Reader's, Yahoo, Miami Herald and other North American publications and websites.