Meteor shower viewing is slated

The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania is inviting the area to come out to Rider Park to view the Perseid meteor shower with Dr. Richard Erickson, associate professor of astronomy and physics at Lycoming College, from 10 p.m. to midnight Aug. 11.

The event is free to attend, but registration is required in order to ensure there is enough parking for participants.

While the meteor shower occurs every year, Bonnie Mahoney, Rider Park manager, said conditions are near “perfect” to see it this August.

“We have a window of opportunity for the Perseid meteor shower,” she said. “(The shower) happens every year at this time but what makes this so special is that we will have very dark skies this year.”

As Erickson explained, the sky will have a waxing crescent moon, which means starting around 10 p.m. that night the moon virtually will be gone.

Meteors are created by pieces of rock or metal that enter Earth’s atmosphere. After being heated, the particles zip across the sky with a glow.

As the night goes on during the viewing, Erickson said meteors should be seen every minute or so.

“Probably starting around 10 that night after it gets dark you can start to see some of these Perseid meteors in the northeast. Maybe one every several minutes,” he said.

Erickson called the Perseid meteor shower “a good reliable” shower.

And with the park being away from street lights and houses, Mahoney said there should be no “light pollution,” which will make for a good viewing experience.

“They’re going to lay down or recline on their lawn chairs and you’ll be looking out at the northeastern sky, and from 10 o’clock and beyond there will be a meteor shower,” she said.

“Rider Park, that’s far enough out so we should have nice dark skies,” Erickson added. “It really should be perfect.”

Those viewing the shower should bring a blanket to lay on or a chair to sit on. They also should bring a jacket and a flashlight.

“If we have clear skies, it should be a spectacular show,” Mahoney said.

In the case of bad weather or cloudy skies, the event will be rescheduled for Aug. 12 or 13 as the meteor shower should be visible from Earth for three days.