Tag Archives: dark sky preserves

The Perseids are Coming!

Photo: by Johnny Westlake for NASA

There are very few things in life that are worth waking sleeping children for. A really cheap plane ticket is one. The perseids meteor showers are another. We’re just days away from peak perseid viewing, which experts say happens after midnight and before dawn this Thursday, August 12. If the skies are clear where you are, astronomers are predicting a great show this year since Thursday will be a moonless night. Expect 60 to 100 shooting stars per hour!

So where can you see perseids? You might try a dark sky preserve–a place that’s intentionally protected from light pollution in order to help astronomers (amateurs and pros alike) better view the night sky. A couple of notable dark sky preserves include the Lake Hudson area in Michigan, the Elk Island National Park in Alberta, and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and Wildcat Mountain State Park in Wisconsin.

But don’t fear. If you don’t live near one of these places, just drive a good ways out of your town/city (if you can) and look toward the northeast. During the peak, you should be able to see a shooting star every couple of minutes. And if you live in the city and can’t get away, just get to the darkest spot you can!

Elqui Domos, an "astro lodge" in Chile

On my trip-of-a-lifetime wanderlist, I’d love to go to this ‘astro lodge‘ ┬áin Chile. Its web site says that its only one of seven “astronomical hotels” in the world. Each of the seven “rooms” are actually furnished geodesic domes and the hotel offers nighttime hoseback riding and astronomical tours all focused on taking in the area’s “sky wealth.” I’m not sure if that’s just Spanish translation issue or just a poetic turn of phrase, but it sounds beautiful!

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