Tonight everyone will be looking up.
Once it gets dark, the Perseids meteor shower will be at its peak, offering a show in the night sky. The Davis Astronomy Club, part of the Explorit Science Center, has an evening event planned for this occasion. The club will be hosting a viewing party tonight at Fairfield Elementary School on County Road 96 in Davis from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“At Fairfield School there‘s not a lot of light, so it‘s easier to see the shower,” said Karen Adams, communications coordinator at Explorit Science Center. “The darker the better.“
Davis Astronomy Club member and Perseids viewing party coordinator Vinita Domier also said that it‘s important to get away from the city lights. The Perseids are the best meteor showers to see, she said.
“The Perseids usually put on a good show, and it is summertime so it is warmer,” Domier said. “They are popular.“
The Perseids meteor shower originates from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The showers are basically dust particles and debris from the comet that are seen in a certain region of the sky at this time of year, Domier said.
“The meteor showers will end once there‘s no debris left from the comet, and that won‘t be any time soon,” Domier said.
NASA is also expecting a good show tonight.
“There should be plenty of meteors, perhaps one or two every minute,“ said Bill Cooke, of NASA‘s Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, on NASA‘s website.
The shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, said Domier.
“The showers seem to appear that they are falling from the Perseus constellation in the sky,” she said. “Hence the name Perseids.“
To get the best viewing of the shower, face northeast and find a spot with a clear horizon, said Domier.
The club will be at Fairfield Elementary with telescopes so people can get a better look at what is happening, Adams said.
Domier and her husband Calvin Domier are members of this informal, volunteer-based club that tries to meet once a month. It is free and open to everybody and anybody, Domier said.
“It‘s different than the UC Davis Astronomy Club because we are more focused on the laymen,” Domier said. “You don‘t have to know a lot.“
Just by going to an event makes someone a member, Adams said. It‘s a group of people who are excited and interested in astronomy at any level.
The club and events are also good places for people to talk and learn about telescopes, Domier said.
“We show people how to use telescopes from little kids to grandmas,” she said.
Tonight‘s event is one of the many upcoming events through Explorit Science Center. At the event “Twinkle, Twinkle” on Aug. 14 and 21, club members will bring out telescopes and be hooked up with a NASA program to see a live feed of space, said Adams.
Explorit is all about hands-on science, and especially during the summer there are many opportunities to get involved. More information on upcoming events can be seen at explorit.org. But for starters, you can view tonight‘s Perseids meteor shower.
“It‘s real exciting when you see a meteor,” Adam said.
SASHA LEKACH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.