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Look up: Catch the Perseid meteor shower in Michigan

In this 30-second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower Friday, Aug. 12, 2016 in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. (NASA/Bill Ingalls photo)

(WPBN/WGTU)-- Keep your eyes on the sky this weekend, you'll have one of the best chances to see the most popular meteor shower.

Anyone who would like to catch some stellar views of the Perseid meteor shower will have the perfect opportunity during peak activity of the meteor shower. The peak of the meteor shower will be after midnight Friday and into Saturday, and then again Saturday into Sunday.

Numerous Michigan state parks will host "Meteors & S'mores," Perseid meteor shower viewing parties, on Friday and Saturday. You can view a full schedule here.

There are also parks in northern Michigan that offer the chance to view the Perseid meteor shower. Headlands International Dark Sky Park will have a program Friday from 9 to 11 p.m.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is also hosting a Solar and Star Party. During the event on Saturday, you can observe the beautiful summer night sky constellations, Saturn, and possibly a few bright Perseid meteors.

"Many consider themselves lucky if they catch a shooting star, but the Perseid meteor shower is one of the best opportunities to see them with the naked eye," said Elissa Buck, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources event coordinator.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the Perseid meteor shower happens every summer, as the Earth passes through the debris trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

“The Perseids, which peak during mid-August, are considered the best meteor shower of the year. With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long ‘wakes’ of light and color behind them as they streak through Earth's atmosphere,” according to the NASA website. “The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen per hour) and occur with warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view them.”

If you're looking for a place to explore the night sky on your own, the DNR says many state parks make great stargazing locations.

Six Michigan state parks have state-designated dark sky preserves, which are ideal locations for astronomy as they are protected against light pollution.

The six parks are as followed:

  • Lake Hudson Recreation Area in Lenawee County
  • Negwegon State Park in Alcona County
  • Port Crescent State Park in Huron County
  • Rockport Recreation Area in Alpena County
  • Thompson's Harbor State Park in Presque Isle County
  • Wilderness State Park in Emmet County

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City is the only internationally designated dark sky park in the state.

Michigan, along with the rest of North America, the DNR says the state will get the chance to experience another unique cosmic phenomenon this month – this one during the day – with the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. It will be the first time a total eclipse has crossed the United States, coast-to-coast, since 1918.

Because we’re outside the total eclipse path that runs from Oregon to South Carolina, Michigan will see a partial eclipse, where the moon only covers part of the sun’s disk.

Find out more at NASA's Eclipse 2017 website.

For more information about Meteors & S’mores and other opportunities for stargazing in state parks, go to michigan.gov/darksky.



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