It's a good week to look up at the sky in Hamilton and tonight is a good night to start looking up. Chances are good you'll see both the International Space Station and part of the Perseids meteor shower.
The space station passes over Hamilton roughly every 90 minutes year round. But it's easier to spot this weekend because of the way the sun is hitting it, Jim Walmsley, chair of the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers said.
"If it's clear, you can't miss it," he said. "It'll be the brightest thing in the night sky."
It will be most visible at 9 p.m. Thursday night and again at about 10:40 p.m. and at 12:16 a.m. It is a solid white light that travels at roughly the speed of an airplane. It travels from the southwest sky to the northeast and takes about six minutes. If it stays cloudy you can try again to spot it tomorrow night: at 9:52 p.m. and 12:29 a.m.
The meteor shower happens once a year when a Halley-type comet flies close to the sun, melting away dust and debris, Walmsley said. The debris burns through the sky and looks like shooting stars.
Earth travels through the debris, which is too small to do any damage, he said.
The Perseids meteor shower happens from July 17 to Aug. 24, but is brightest on Aug. 11 and 12. The Hamilton club is holding its annual public viewing at Binbrook Conservation Area at 8 p.m. on Sunday.
The event is free and will include a chance to see real meteors and get a tour of the night sky. At peak years, as many as 800 have attended, Walmsley said.