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Big meteor display predicted this week

NPS program to show off night sky

 


There’s a good chance there will be a significant meteor shower beginning Thursday night and possibly extending for the next two nights.

Experts think the annual Perseid meteor event could provide a great display this year, up to 200 meteors an hour, because Jupiter’s gravity will force them nearer to earth. Peak viewing should occur after midnight Thursday into Friday morning.

If you miss it, or it inspires you, the next two nights also offer a local opportunity to delve into deep space.

Janice Elvidge, education specialist for the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, invites local residents to join her both Friday and Saturday nights for their “Stargazing and Sky Tours.”

Friday night Elvidge, with her telescope, will be in the Crescent Bay area from 8:30 to 11:30.

Saturday night she will be at Spring Canyon, the same hours.

“Take a look at a galaxy, nebula, the moon or one of our solar system’s planets!” her flyer on the event says. “Drop in any time.”

She’ll also be showing off the International Space Station as it passes over about 9 p.m. Friday.

Local residents are invited to attend Elvidge’s educational gathering.

The Perseid meteors are cosmic “garbage” left over from a regularly-returning comet called Swift-Tuttle. The comet itself returns to the inner solar system every 130 years or so; it was last here in 1992.

Every flash you see is a bit of material from the comet hitting the earth’s atmosphere and getting heated up to as high as 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it skids into our atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour, 50 miles up.

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