By Mario Carr
Don’t miss Hamilton Amateur Astronomers free Perseids Meteor shower night at Binbrook Conservation Area on Friday, August 12.
Located at 5050 Harrison Rd, Binbrook, the park will waive its gate fees from 8 p.m-11 p.m. The event has always been a crowd pleaser, drawing hundreds of visitors from as far away as Toronto.
If you plan to attend, you don’t need a telescope. Just bring a blanket, groundsheet or lounge chair because lying down is the preferred method to enjoy the cosmic show. You can also listen to a night sky tour, touch meteorites and gaze through telescopes.
Mosquitoes could be nasty at this time of year, so apply repellent, wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. The club will be collecting a volunteer donation for local food banks and any help you can give would be appreciated. The event may be cancelled due to the weather so check the club’s website before leaving home.
The meteor shower receives its name because it appears to be radiating from the Perseus constellation. Most meteors will be faint but some will have long bright tails lasting several seconds.
You could see 40-100 meteors per hour. If you start looking tonight, you could see some meteors and the show is expected to last until August 26. The meteor shower happens every year, at this time, when the Earth moves through dust particles left behind from Comet109P/Swift-Tuttle that appeared in 1992.
Mercury can be seen in evening twilight. Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can all be seen in the western evening sky.
Here are August stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
August 4 – The Moon is below Mercury in the evening twilight sky.
August 5 – The Moon is below Jupiter low in evening twilight.
August 11 – The Moon is close to Saturn and Mars in the evening sky.
August 25 – The Moon is in the Hyades star cluster in the morning sky.
August 30 – From a dark location for the next two weeks, you can see light reflecting off dust particles in the solar system known as Zodiacal light in the eastern predawn sky.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at http://www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.
Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarioCCarr