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Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 - Viewing from Chicagoland Beaches
Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 9:00 PM - Monday, August 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM (CDT)
The Perseid Meteor Shower is an annual astronomical phenomenon in which the earth’s orbit passes through the cloud of particles ejected from the comet Swift-Tuttle as it travels on its 130-year orbit. The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear to come in the sky, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The display of “shooting stars” is visible in the night sky for several weeks each year, with peak activity between August 9 and 14. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle's orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere.
In 2012, Perseids’ peak activity takes place August 10-13 in the evenings through pre-dawn hours. Although Chicagoland viewing is hampered by light pollution, our position west of the lake is fortunate. Ideal viewing for those of us who can’t drive away from the City would be along the lakefront facing northeast (away from city lights and towards rising stars). The 2012 Perseids shower also benefits by the moon’s phase this year – a late-rising waning crescent moon, i.e., not too bright to interfere with viewing on that date, provided the sky is clear of clouds.
Through a collaboration with the Illinois Science Council, Chicago and Evanston Park Districts are extending certain beach access hours to allow people to sit on the lakefront to look for shooting stars. You do NOT need to reserve a ticket for this; there is no 'reserving of seats' as beaches are open to all. (Reserving of seats was for the astronomer & geologist talk that happened on Thursday at the Levy Center.) This event page is merely to provide you the information. Just grab a blanket (and maybe bug spray) and go sit with family or friends enjoying a summer evening while marveling at our planet's place in the galaxy!
Click here to check the weather for the weekend.
Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:00pm – 12:00 midnight
Sunday, August 12, 2012 9:00pm – 12:00 midnight
** No swimming or entry into the water is allowed at the beaches during these events. (This isn't rocket science, people, it's star-gazing. From the shore, not in the water. Don't get the park districts mad at ISC.)
On Thursday, Aug. 9th, Illinois Science Council presented a free educational talk about meteor-watching and meteorites at the Levy Center in Evanston. Dr. Laura Trouille, astronomer from Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astronomy (CIERA) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, gave a lively talk on the Perseid meteor shower and, more generally, night-sky objects of interest. James Holstein of the Field Museum Department of Geology talked about meteorites that come through the atmosphere and fall to earth and showed people amazing meteorite samples from the Field's large collection of meteorites. They will not be at the beaches on the weekend.
To learn about upcoming great ISC science programs like this, sign up for the e-newsletter at ISC's website at www.IllinoisScience.org.
Illinois Science Council ("ISC") is an independent 501c3 organization that engages, educates, and entertains the adult public about science, technology, engineering and math in our everyday lives. We showcase the scientists and research of those Chicago-area institutions and companies that make Chicago our nation's true "City of Science." ISC serves as the science & tech complement to the arts & culture outreach offered to the lay public.
We are inspired and motivated by this Carl Sagan quote: “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous." Sagan also observed, "We live in a society that is exquisitely dependent upon science and technology in which hardly anyone understands anything about science and technology." ISC is certainly working to change that.
ISC explores all areas of science and technology and we do it with a fun, non-stuffy approach. We don't care what's been forgotten since school (or never learned in the first place). It's simply about continuing to exercise our inexhaustible human sense of curiosity. We create engaging programs open to the public (aimed at adults and accessible to teens) such as hands on chemistry (Chemistry of... Beer, Chocolate, Coffee, Honey, etc), panel discussions on science subjects in the news (Your Brain on Happiness, on Creativity, on Addiction, on Exercise, etc.), author talks, film screenings ("The Atom Smashers"), and more.
Visit: IllinoisScience.org for more info or to get involved.
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