A Summer Day: Perseids meteor shower

Telescope-toting stargazers know that there’s a difference between shooting stars and meteors. Shooting stars are a quick flash on the horizon, a blink-and-you-missed-it moment, an event hardly deemed wishable.

Meteors, however, are a monster of a comet. They’re huge and come so close to you that you can practically feel their intense heat, see their different-colored flames and spend time marveling at trails that hang in the sky for seconds.

The best way to witness them? Make like a kid and camp in the backyard.

The Perseids, a yearly meteor shower that peaks Saturday, Aug. 11, are a perfect time to grab your pillow and head for the grass. The meteor shower is best in the wee hours of the morning, when huge comets are a dime a dozen in the chilly night air. The moon, which will still be bright and semi-full, may dampen some viewing. You can still see some showers up to a few weeks later.

If you're not the type to leave your comfortable mattress, there's another option. North Mountain Park Nature Center at 620 N. Mountain Ave. will host a Celestial Highlights of the Summer Sky starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18. Call 541-488-6606 for information.

Local astronomers will bring out telescopes large enough to let you see galaxies far, far away and the rings of Jupiter. It's suggested you arrive early due to limited parking and seating.

Amelia Covert Zeve, 13, is a wilderness enthusiast who attends Willow Wind Community Learning Center. Contact her at ameliacovertzeve@gmail.com.

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