Extended beach hours to allow for star-gazing meteor event
Evanston residents have a special opportunity to view the annual Perseid Meteor Shower of shooting stars the evenings of August 10th
this year. Illinois Science Council
has worked with the Evanston Parks & Recreation to allow extended access hours at Lighthouse Beach until midnight on Saturday August 10 and Sunday, August 11 so people can look for shooting stars. The City of Chicago will extend access hours at 12th
Street Beach and Montrose Beach in Chicago until midnight those days as well. Participants need to remain on the beach. So bring a blanket and your sweetie (and probably bug spray), sit back and enjoy shooting stars in the night sky!
Best viewing of this annual astronomical event is in the night sky in mid-August. In 2013, the Perseids&rsquo peak activity takes place August 10-13 in the evenings through pre-dawn hours. While stargazing near Chicago is hampered by light pollution, the City&rsquo s position west of the lake is fortunate. Ideal viewing, if you can&rsquo t drive away from the City to darker areas, is along the lakefront, facing northeast away from city lights and toward rising stars. The moon phase this year &ndash a thin waxing crescent &ndash also helps. It will not be too bright to interfere with viewing on that date, provided the sky is clear of clouds.
The Perseid Meteor Shower phenomenon occurs when the earth&rsquo 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. This display of &ldquo shooting stars&rdquo 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 Swift-Tuttle's orbit path, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere.
Meteor Viewing 2013:
Saturday, August 10 9:00pm &ndash 12:00 midnight
Sunday, August 11 9:00pm &ndash 12:00 midnight
Chicago&rsquo s 12th Street Beach (on Northerly Island south of Adler Planetarium)
Chicago&rsquo s Montrose Beach, (4400 North Lake Shore Drive)
Evanston&rsquo s Lighthouse Beach Park, 2611 Sheridan Road (at Central Street)
Illinois Science Council("ISC") is an independent, 501c3 organization that engages, educates, and entertains the public about science and technology in our everyday lives. We focus on an adult audience and showcase the scientists and the research of Chicago-area institutions and companies that make Chicago our country&rsquo s true "City of Science." ISC presented free educational talks about asteroids, comets and meteorites in collaboration with Chicago Public library this week at the Roosevelt and Uptown library branches. Dr. Laura Trouille and Carl Rodriguez of Northwestern University&rsquo s Astronomy Department, and Drew Carhart of the Naperville Astronomical Society and Field Museum&rsquo s meteorite department gave lively talks on the Perseid meteor shower allowed attendees to see actual meteorites up close from the Field Museum&rsquo s collection.