WASHINGTON — Tired of the dog days of summer? Who could blame you with the wet and sweaty days of August the past couple of weeks?
Want to get away to cool breezes, lush greenery and star-filled skies? Shenandoah National Park is always your answer but now with an added bonus: the third annual Night Sky Festival. A family friendly event packed with astronomy for all ages, the Night Sky Festival will occur over three days and nights, rain or shine.
Rooms may still be available and there are places to eat to facilitate your stay. Last time I checked, Big Meadows was full, so we should have good attendance this year.
Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, Shenandoah National Park will be hosting presentations and outdoor activities with telescopes for viewing the night skies and the Perseid meteor shower.
This is an annual favorite of skywatchers because the Perseids always put on a good show of shooting stars from a dark sky site even without the moon. And that is exactly what we will have this year — no moon. Shenandoah National Park will host various Perseid-related events during the predicted peak days of Aug. 12 to 13. Observers at Shenandoah might see a meteor a minute.
While at Shenandoah, be sure to check out the view of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Due to light pollution, 80 percent of Americans cannot see the Milky Way.
At Shenandoah National Park, especially this time of year, the Milky Way is a celestial splendor that can be seen sprawling across the sky from the South to the North. Many park guests have never seen it and some are moved to tears when they view the milky band for the first time. The moon will be out of the sky for this year’s Night Sky Festival so the Milky Way will be at its best.
I hope you will join me and the Shenandoah staff at the Night Sky Festival. If you get the astronomy bug during the festival, the park’s astronomy events continue throughout the season
See you there!