This month the Perseid Meteor Shower, the most dazzling nighttime celestial event of the summer, will peak on the nights of August 11th and 12th. It’s the perfect opportunity to host a sparkling soiree under the stars.
One of Vincent Van Gogh’s most iconic works is his Starry Night painting, a masterpiece that Van Gogh Vodka pays homage to on their flagship 80 proof Van Gogh Vodka bottle. What better way to celebrate the Perseids, than by sipping on one of the Van Gogh sparkling cocktails listed below? But first, here are some facts about the Perseids and tips from Astronomer Dr. Aparna Venkatesan’s for enjoying the meteor shower.
A few facts:
- The Perseid is the most popular meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and will peak the nights of August 11-12 and 12-13.
- During these dates, between 60-70 meteors per hour will be visible under the right conditions; in peak years that number can rocket upwards of 150 meteors per hour.
- While difficult to see in locations that have a lot of ambient light, the consensus is if you can see each star of the Little Dipper, your eyes have “dark adapted,” and you should be able to view the shower.
- Meteors, also known as “shooting stars” or “falling stars,” are created when bits of debris from asteroids and comets enter the earth’s atmosphere and begin to glow as they heat up from friction.
Astronomer Dr. Aparna Venkatesan, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of San Francisco has the following tips for enjoying the night sky during meteor showers and while star gazing:
Tips for Watching a Meteor Shower
- Stay up past midnight – showers peak between midnight and dawn.
- No telescopes or binoculars needed – just a wide unobstructed field of view of the sky.
- Because you will be gazing as the sky for a while, a blanket or chair to relax on are great so that you don’t strain your neck while craning back and looking up.
- After identifying the area of the sky from which the meteors will appear to be coming from, relax your eyes and look away slightly as your peripheral vision will be great at picking up the streaks.
- You should also be able to see Mars (visible until 4 a.m. local time) and Saturn (visible until 2 a.m. local time). Venus and Jupiter both set before the Perseids and are best viewed around 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. respectively.
Overall Star Gazing Tips
- Try to find a location that is as dark as possible (minimal light pollution) and has a good chance of clear skies and good weather. Added bonuses are high elevation locations and dry (desert or mountain-like) conditions.
- Having the moon phase not full helps sky-viewing immensely. The ideal moon phase is between new and first quarter. (The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year as it will set before the shower gets underway after midnight.)
- Dress warm enough for nighttime temperatures.
While we experience regular meteor showers at set times of year, some shine brighter than others. This year, the Perseid is set to be the most spectacular shower of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere, but should you miss it, you can enjoy more “starry nights” later this year during the Leonids (peaking November 17 – 18) and the Geminids (peaking December 14th).
Complement your Starry Night Soiree with one of these sparkling cocktails:
VAN GOGH STARRY NIGHT SPARKLER
1 oz. Van Gogh Vodka, chilled
4 oz. sparkling rosé, chilled (if rosé is dry, add 1/4 oz. simple syrup)
Add chilled Van Gogh Vodka to a flute and top with chilled sparkling rosé. Garnish with a starfruit. For a twist on color, try substituting Van Gogh Pomegranate or Van Gogh Açaí-Blueberry).
VAN GOGH SUNFLOWER SPRITZ
1 oz. Van Gogh Vodka
1 oz. lemon-lime soda
1 oz. club soda
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Shake first two ingredients well with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and stir in club soda. Top with juice from squeezed lemon. Garnish with lemon wheel and rosemary sprig.
COOL PEACH BELLINI
1 oz. Van Gogh Cool Peach
1 oz. white peach purée
3 oz. Sparkling wine, chilled
In a mixing glass, add ingredients with ice and gently fold together without over-stirring. Strain into a chilled flute. Garnish with a floating mint leaf and peach slice.
2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Caramel
3 oz. ginger ale
Wedge of lime, squeezed
Pour vodka and ginger ale into a rocks glass filled with ice and stir briefly. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top. Garnish with a cherry.
TROPIC OF PINEAPPLE
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Pineapple, chilled
3 1/2 oz. sparkling wine, chilled (if sparkling wine is dry, add 1/4 oz. simple syrup)
Add chilled pineapple vodka to a flute and top with chilled sparkling wine. Garnish with a. pineapple slice.
CUCUMBER MINT FIZZ
2 oz. Van Gogh Vodka
1½ oz. sour mix
1 cucumber slice
8-10 mint leaves
Muddle cucumber and mint in the sour mix. Add Van Gogh Vodka with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass or flute, top with club soda. Garnish with a long thin strip of cucumber.