The Perseids, also known as Las Lágrimas de San Lorenzo (the tears of San Lorenzo), are an annual meteor shower during the months of July and August. And in Gran Canaria you can see this luminous phenomenon in all its splendour.
This island is a Starlight Tourist Destination, a recognition that is only given to areas where you can observe the sky in its purest state, without the light pollution generated by cities and passing planes.
Because of that, Gran Canaria has great potential for implementing astro-tourism, a new and sustainable form of tourism, as well as being the perfect setting for astronomy.
When to see the Perseids or Lágrimas de San Lorenzo in Gran Canaria
You can see the Perseids from 14 July to 24 August, although you can also see meteors that have been left behind until the 1st of September.
The most intense days will be from 9 to 13 August, where there will be the most shooting stars illuminating the sky. Furthermore, the big night will be from 12 to 13 August with more than 150 stars in one hour.
Remember that the brightness of the moon can make it difficult to see the night sky. So on days when there’s a full moon, you might miss many shooting stars.
You should observe the sky on days when the moon shines less brightly. When the sky is darkest, you’ll be able to see the Lágrimas de San Lorenzo more easily.
Even though it’s not difficult to find them, it’s easier if you know how to locate the constellation of Perseus. Then, just look in that direction with a specialized app. The Perseids tend to be more frequent as the night progresses and especially in the hours before dawn.
Where to see the Perseids or Lágrimas de San Lorenzo in Gran CanariaPhoto by David Monje on Unsplash
Due to tradition, observation or because it’s close and accessible, people usually observe the stars from the district of San Lorenzo in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The Perseids are also known as the Lágrimas de San Lorenzo because they reach their peak on the feast day of the saint of the same name, usually bringing stargazers to this area of the island, which dresses up for the occasion.
However, experts recommend areas of the island further away from the urban lights, such as Artenara, Tejeda, Temisas, Roque Saucillo, Tasartico... In fact, the summits of Gran Canaria are a perfect window to the night sky.
How to see the Perseids in Gran Canaria
The good summer weather on the island and the high probability of enjoying clear skies make this meteor shower very famous and followed not only by astronomy lovers, but by anyone who likes to spend a pleasant night outdoors. For a unique experience, we recommend the following:
- Look for a dark place away from the city, as the lower the light pollution the easier it’ll be to see the stars.
- Wait about 20 minutes for your eyes to get used to the darkness. You’ll be able to see the shooting stars better.
- Take everything you need for the night, such as drinks, snacks, comfortable clothes, something warm (the island's peaks are cold) and a blanket or a chair to lie or sit down and look comfortably at the sky.
- Locate the constellation of Perseus and look there with the naked eye or with astronomical binoculars with low magnification so that you don’t miss a single shooting star.
- Wait and enjoy a unique light spectacle.
In addition, it’s important to follow the following advice:
- Don’t throw away any type of rubbish, including cigarette butts. Food waste contributes to the proliferation of rodents and feral cats that are a serious threat to wildlife.
- Respect the animals, don’t bother or feed them. If you see an injured animal, you can call the 112 emergency telephone number, or talk to the responsible authorities.
- Don’t take any flowers, plants, stones or any other element from the natural environment.
- Turn off car headlights and don’t use flashlights to minimize light pollution in the sky.
- Try to remain silent or speak quietly to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
As every summer, the Earth passes through the trail of dust and rocks left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which causes the famous shower of shooting stars known as the Perseids or the Lágrimas de San Lorenzo. Are you going to miss this spectacular night sky in summer?