Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids meteor shower has been visible for more than 2,000 years. This year the Moon will be in the way and lower the viewing ability, so instead we are going to focus on the Moon and still try to see the showers. The shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus from which it appears to originate. It occurs annually, beginning in late July and lasting through August. The shower is caused by the comet Swift-Tuttle’s tail as it intersects the earth’s orbit. As Earth passes through the tail of the comet particles of dust hit the atmosphere and burn brightly as they disintegrate, causing the meteors that we see. During its peak, in August, you can view up to more than 60 meteors per hour as we pass through the dustiest part of the comet’s tail. As more developments are on the rise and light pollution is destroying the night sky, there are less opportunities for people in the City to get outdoors and enjoy something this spectacular.
Sponsored by: City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Friends of Des Moines Parks, Dairy Queen, Science Center of Iowa, Drake Observatory, Easter Lake Neighborhood Association, Des Moines Astronomical Society
Schedule of Events*
The action in the sky doesn’t get started until later, but the activities in the park start at 6:00pm:
4:00 - 5:00 Camping Check-in
6:00 p.m. Activities for Everyone
- Face Painting
- Solar Bead & Glow in the Dark Bracelets/Necklaces
- Stomp Rockets
- Balloon Animals
- Create a Sun Dial
- Telescopes for questions and answers
- Free Popcorn and Dr. Pepper soda
Sunset - Presentations from Des Moines Astronomical Society and Science Center of Iowa
8:30 p.m. Movie "The Last Starfighter"
10:30 p.m. Star and Meteor Viewing
To accommodate the prime viewing time from 2:00 to 4:00am, Des Moines Parks and Recreation is once again allowing overnight camping along the Harry Piper Parkway. Limited primitive tent spots are available for $25 each by pre-paid reservation only, which can be completed here. Camping reservations must be made by 12 p.m. on August 15.
Location and Directions
Star Party will be held at two locations within Ewing Park – the Ashley Okland Star Playground (1895 E McKinley Avenue) and Lilac Arboretum (5300 Indianola Road). Click here to view map.