From The West Virginia State Parks:
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Night skies above West Virginia’s state parks will offer excellent views of the Perseid meteor showers this week, through Saturday, Aug. 12. Special night viewing events of this annual spectacle are scheduled at Beech Fork, Blackwater Falls, Babcock and North Bend state parks. Activities are free and open to the public.
The Perseid meteor shower happens every August when the Earth’s orbit crosses the path of debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed close to Earth in 1992. The meteors are named after the Perseus constellation, the point in the night sky from which they appear to come from. Perseid meteors can be seen just after dark, but the number of meteors per hour increases after midnight. Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended.
Beech Fork State Park near Barboursville will celebrate nature’s light show with a meteor watching party on Aug. 12. The event will start at 11 p.m. in the recreation area by the parking lot. Amateur astronomer Bob Hogsett will share his knowledge of the night sky. Early arrivers may enjoy tall tales as told by storyteller Bil Lepp at 7 p.m. For more information about Beech Fork State Park, visit www.wvstateparks.com or call 304-528-5794.
Blackwater Falls State Park near Davis is far from city lights and offers one of the darkest skies in the eastern United States. Starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10, park naturalist Paulita Cousin will meet visitors at the nature center to assist novice watchers before the light show begins. Blackwater Falls State Park will also host the 28th Annual Astronomy Weekend Sept. 14-17. This event is sponsored by the Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society and Blackwater Falls State Park. For more information about Blackwater Falls State Park, visit www.blackwaterfalls.com or call 304-259-5216.
Babcock State Park near Clifftop will host a Perseid party at Boley Lake on Friday, Aug. 11 starting at 8:30 p.m. Summer park naturalist Abby Rice will provide guidance during the sky watching event. For more information about Babcock State park and other weekend events, visit www.babcocksp.com or call 304-438-3004.
North Bend State Park near Cairo will feature presentations of the STARLAB Portable Planetarium on Thursday, Aug. 10, and Friday, Aug. 11. This program comes from the NASA IV and V Facility in Fairmont, and showcases stars, constellations and constellation mythology. On Thursday, shows will take place on the half-hour from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The Friday event is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The program is on a first come, first served basis in the Douglass Conference Room in the lodge. Naturalist Ken Zebo will help visitors as they enjoy the night sky view. For more information about North Bend State Park, visit www.northbendsp.com or call 304-643-2931.