Article Published: Aug. 9, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 12, 2012
The Blue Ridge Parkway will host a group viewing of the Perseid meteor shower at Julian Price Picnic Area on Saturday, Aug. 11, beginning at 9:15 p.m.
“The show will begin at 9:15 p.m. when it starts to get dark, but the meteor shower will be at its height around midnight,” said Paul Patterson, member of the Greensboro Astronomy Club.
Club members will be there with viewing telescopes, but the shooting stars will be plainly visible to the naked eye.
Several hundred meteoroids will fly through Earth’s atmosphere during the few hours of the viewing.
“Most of them are the size of a grain of sand when they first enter,” Patterson said.
Small as they may be, they move at speeds of 40 miles per second.
The meteoroids are fragments from a cluster of space debris known as the Swift-Tuttle comet. The earth encounters Swift-Tuttle every year in August. The meteor shower has been observed by humans for 2,000 years.
Patterson suggests that visitors bring a blanket or reclining lawn chair to the viewing for optimal star-gazing pleasure.
The event is free of charge and open to the public.