Shooting Star viewing party at Cumberland Gap NHP

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The public is invited to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower with Cumberland Gap park rangers at the remote Hensley Settlement this Friday night.

As darkness falls in the southern mountains, the historic Hensley Settlement in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park becomes the stage for a shooting star spectacular. Its remote location high upon Brush Mountain provides an incredible opportunity to view the night sky and the famous Perseid meteor shower.

Visible each year beginning in mid July, the Perseid meteor shower has been observed for almost 200 years. The shower, which consists of dust and debris associated with a comet called Swift-Tuttle, appears as streaks of light in the evening sky. “These streaks can be seen at rates of up to 90 per hour,” explains Park Naturalist Scott Teodorski. “The dark skies found up on Brush Mountain provide the perfect environment to view this spectacular show. It is a sight to behold.”

A fire will be available and sticks will be provided for those who wish to bring marshmallows and hot dogs to roast. Star gazing enthusiasts are encouraged to bring binoculars, blankets or chairs and appropriate clothing.

Visitors interested in participating in this free program should meet at the park visitor center at 6:30 p.m. to caravan to the settlement. Vehicles will be allowed to only travel up to the settlement via the Shillalah Creek Road from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Vehicles will be allowed to only travel down the road from the settlement from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

In case of rain, the program will be cancelled. For more information on this or other ranger-guided programs, please call the park visitor center at (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.


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