Look Up! “Fireball” Meteor Shower Expected Tonight in Michigan
Weather will always be slightly unpredictable, but hopefully over the next couple of nights we'll have clear skies. Why? So we can clearly see the Alpha Capricornids Meteor Shower, which is expected to peak tonight (7/28) and tomorrow (7/29) over Michigan, according to Mlive.com.
Growing up, I was the kid who wanted to go to the local planetarium on the weekends. With that being said, I've never actually witnessed a meteor shower. Something I'm hoping to remedy this week.
While the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower often brings bright, 'fireball-like' meteors, they don't appear that often. According to the American Meteor Society, this particular shower rarely produces more that 4 or 5 meteors per hour so you'll have to be on the lookout. The Alpha Capricornids shower is generally active from July 3rd to August 15th so, even if you can't spend the night looking for meteors tonight, you may still be able to spot them for the next couple of weeks. But, as mentioned earlier, it is expected to peak tonight (7/28) and tomorrow (7/29).
The Perfect Place to Watch is in SW Michigan
Those who live in areas with heavy light pollution will always have trouble seeing meteor showers. Thankfully, we have a "Dark Sky" park in SW Michigan.
I was curious about these "fireball" meteors and wanted to see if they actually looked like that. A backpacker traveling through California was able to capture the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower in a time-lapse in 4k. You have to pay attention but you can see little sparks of light randomly in the sky. Sure enough, when I paused at the right moment they do look like fireballs! Take a look:
Here's the Thing...
If you look up the operational hours for Dr. T.K. Lawless park you may be confused since results will tell you that the park closes at 9pm, well before you'd be able to see this shower.
However, once Dr. T.K. Lawless park was deemed and international dark sky park, the Cass County Parks and Recreation Department created a schedule where the park would stay open later specifically for star gazing.
You can find the park's full 'late-night' schedule pinned to the top of their Facebook page. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be open late on the peak nights for the Alpha Capricornids shower. However, they will be open until 2AM this Friday (7/30) and Saturday (7/31). Hopefully, you'll still be able to catch a few fireballs.
Meteor showers can been seen throughout the year if you happen to look up on the right nights. You can see the full schedule of meteor showers, along with their peak nights, on the American Meteor Society's website.
If you love parks, whether they're dark sky rated or not, you may enjoy these vintage photos of our beloved national parks. Check it out:
LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks
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