Good morning, star shine: Perseids to put on a showJust weeks after a spectacular aurora borealis show, the night sky will light up before sunrise again.
Just weeks after a spectacular aurora borealis show, the night sky will light up before sunrise again.
The Perseid meteor shower, an annual event, lasts more than a month, but its peak usually occurs in mid-August. For much of the month the moon will interfere with visibility of the shower, but in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 11-13 the moon will be a waning crescent which means that meteors should be visible whizzing across the sky at a rate of 50-60 per hour at those times.
The best place to view the Perseids is away from city lights.
The Perseids are actually the dust trail of a sun-orbiting Comet Swift-Tuttle. It’s one of the most famous and reliable meteor showers in the northern hemisphere. When the particle trail of the comet hits the earth’s atmosphere, it disintegrates, causing the meteor shower.
Two local parks are planning programming for visitors who want to see the light show.
Gooseberry Falls State Park, north of Two Harbors, will hold its regular astronomy seminar on Sunday from 7:30-8:15 p.m. Visitors can meet at the Lady Slipper Lodge. A naturalist will be on hand to provide tips and tricks for observing the night sky and explain more about the meteor shower.
On Saturday from 9-10 p.m. at Temperance Falls State Park, a naturalist will be at the show to explain the secrets behind this phenomenon. Attendees should meet near the shower building.
Voyageur National Park near International Falls is holding a viewing of the meteor shower attended by astronomy volunteer, Don Graves, biology professor at Hibbing Community College. There’s no cost and attendees can meet at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center at 9:30 p.m. with a lawn chair.