Friday, August 8, 2014

Eyes to the Sky

 Watch the Perseid meteor showers at Blackwater Falls State Park Aug. 11 and 12, 2014

DAVIS, West Virginia – It's fun to look up at night and wish upon a star. On a clear, dark night, the Perseid meteor shower makes dreams come true for anyone interested in astronomy and night sky observation. Perseid meteor shower viewing events will be featured at Blackwater Falls State Park Aug. 11 and 12.
"Everyone is welcome to attend and we're wishing for clear dark skies for a great star party," said Paulita Cousin, naturalist at Blackwater Falls State Park.
Dan Costanzo, scientist with the National Air and Space Museum, has more than 40 years of experience watching meteors and the Earth's sky and will be the guest interpreter for this astronomy event. The Perseid meteor shower is an annual summertime event.  Meteors can be observed on clear nights from mid-July to late August with the peak show usually occurring around Aug. 11 and 12. Meteors can be observed in the early evening sky after darkness falls; however, the number of meteors increases after midnight.  Blackwater Falls State Park, one for the darkest areas in the east, is the perfect setting as Earth passes through the debris of Swift-Tuttle – a comet discovered in July 1862.
The Perseid meteor shower viewing begins at the Harold Walters Nature Center Monday, Aug.11 and Tuesday, Aug. 12.  An indoor gathering includes a presentation about meteors and the night sky in preparation for the night sky viewing. The program begins indoors each evening at 7:30 p.m. and viewing of the meteors will follow outdoors. The nature center area will be free of artificial lighting.
"A clear night with dark skies, evening sounds of frogs and other wildlife, and a meteor shower – it doesn't get much better," said Cousin.
There is no charge to attend and no advance registration necessary. Attendees do not need to bring a telescope but are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit back and watch the show.
Overnight lodging is available at Blackwater Falls State Park by calling 304-259-5216. To talk with Naturalist Paulita Cousin, call 304-259-5511. 
Blackwater Falls State Park offers daily activities and programming and posts those at Other astronomy activities include the StarLab portable planetarium with the park naturalist at various times Aug.9-19, 2014.

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