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Preparing for the Perseids: Alpena’s Dark Skies

Posted on August 10th, 2016
paul gerow night sky

Dark sky at Rockport State Recreation Area; photo courtesy of Paul Gerow

The Perseid meteor shower is about to make it’s grand entrance into our night sky–and you don’t want to miss this one! Although this is an annual occurrence between the dates of July 17th-August 24th, we have not seen such a spectacular light show by the Perseids since 2009.

What makes this year so special? This year we are passing through a particularly dense patch of “comet dust” from the remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle, left behind in it’s orbit around the sun in 1862, 1479, and 1079. We will quite literally be watching ancient comet dust blast through our atmosphere and light up the night sky!

Lucky us. We have 3 nationally recognized dark sky preserves in the Alpena area for a premium viewing experience, so you can pick which one is closest to you to watch this cosmic event. Thompson’s Harbor State Park, Rockport State Recreation Area, and Negwegon State Park are the places to be on August 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, with August 12th supposedly being the peak night with the most meteors.

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Don’t miss out!

JOIN US TONIGHT, as we kick off night #1 of the Perseids at Rockport State Recreation Area. “Meteors & S’mores” will start at 8:30 pm and go until 11 pm. S’mores will be provided on this National S’more Day, as well as twilight readings by Mary Beth Stutzman of the works of Thoreau, Frost, Emerson, and Muir. John Heath, planetarium director for Besser Museum, will be there with telescopes set up for the viewing of Mars, Saturn, the moon, and various constellations in the night sky.

You can find the complete information on this Perseid kick off event on Facebook by follow this link >>HERE<<

Fun Facts: What’s the difference?

Meteor– a small body of matter from outer space that enters the Earth’s atmosphere, becoming incandescent as a result of friction and appearing as a streak of light.

Meteorite– a meteor that survives it’s passage through the Earth’s atmosphere such that part of it hits the ground.

Meteoroid– a small body moving in the solar system that would become a meteor if it enters Earth’s atmosphere.