3 Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing Events

by | Aug 13, 2015 | Events

By Susan Larson

It’s a great year to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. The waning moon does not rise until shortly before sunrise, and on August 14 it’s a new moon — which reflects no light to earth. A dark sky means better viewing.

Each year from about July 17 through August 24, Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower. Pieces of the comet that have come loose as rubble slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere, lighting the night sky with fast-moving Perseid meteors. The Perseids peak August 12 and 13, 2015.

No special equipment is needed to see the meteors. Find a dark, open sky to enjoy the show. A reclining lawn chair or blanket can make viewing more comfortable.

The meteors are visible dusk to dawn, but increase in number near midnight and after.

Three Perseid Programs

Star Party at Shenandoah National Park
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 9 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Park Rangers, NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern, and local volunteer astronomers will host astronomy presentations, constellation tours and dark sky viewing through telescopes.
At the Shenandoah – Dickey Ridge Visitor Center lawn (mile 4.6 on Skyline Drive) and Loft Mountain amphitheater (mile 79.5), the programs are from 9 to 11 p.m. Visitors are welcome to stay longer.
The program at Big Meadows (mile 51) will last 9 p.m. – 5 a.m. Redfern will present “The Perseids, Falling Stars at Shenandoah National Park” at 9 p.m. in the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium. Rangers will provide and volunteer astronomers will provide opportunities to view the night sky . Redfern re-joins the group at 11 p.m. to share “Under the Stars at Shenandoah National Park.”
Presentations will be held regardless of weather, but night sky viewing may be cancelled depending on cloud cover.
Dress for cool mountain nights and bring blankets, chairs, and flashlights.

The Perseids at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Thursday, Aug. 13, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, Route 175, Wallops, Va.
The evening begins with an Astronomy 101 presentation at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Herbert H. Bateman Education Center Auditorium, 8231 Beach Rd, Chincoteague Island, Va., followed
The event is free and open to the public. The presentation will occur regardless of weather, however, the telescope viewing is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Park entrance fees apply.

The Perseids at Motts Run
Saturday, Aug. 15, 9:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Motts Run Reservoir, 6600 River Rd., Fredericksburg, Va.
Join Astronomer Myron Wasiuta watch for the Perseid meteors. Bring a lawn chair (optional). $6 admission per person.


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