Wednesday, August 1, 2012

View the Perseid Meteor Shower at Emiquon

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon and the Dickson Mounds Museum will host a lecture and live viewing of the Perseid Meteor Shower on Sunday, August 12, 2012 at the Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown, Ill.

The lecture, “Meteor Showers Bringing Visitors from Outer Space”, will begin at 2 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum, located at 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road. The talk is free and open to the public. It will occur rain or shine. The lecture will be given by John Martin, UIS professor of astronomy and physics, who will explain the origin and physics that cause the celestial fireworks show known as the Perseid Meteor Shower.

“On a typical dark night you can see about five or six meteors streak across the sky each hour,” explains Martin. “In August, the Earth will pass through a trail of debris left behind comet Swift-Tuttle. During that passage we will see the frequency of these visitors from beyond the Earth increase markedly during the Perseid Meteor Shower.”

Following the lecture, a Star Party will begin at 9 p.m. at the Lakeside Observatory on Emiquon’s Thompson Lake. Professor Martin will give a guided tour of the night sky and the Sangamon Astronomical Society will share views of the sky through their telescopes. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately for being outdoors and encouraged to bring binoculars and lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. In the event of an overcast sky on August 12, the event will be cancelled. Participants may call Martin at 217/206-8342 after 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 12 for weather information.

UIS’ Therkildsen Field Station is at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located between Havana, Ill. and Lewistown, Ill. near the Dickson Mounds Museum. The program is free and open to the public; reservations are not required. The Thompson Lake landing is located directly off the east side of Illinois Rts. 97/78, approximately half a mile north of the Dickson Mounds turnoff. A sign will be posted at the turnoff. A map is also available online at www.uis.edu/emiquon/.

Everyone entering the property will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

For more information, contact John Martin at 217/206-8342 or jmart5@uis.edu.

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