HWA hosting Star Party for annual Perseid Meteor Shower

Zodiacal light in spring 2021, photo by Terry Taddeucci.

CREEDE — Each year, the Perseid Meteor Shower lights up the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere, typically from July 17 to Aug. 24. While the entire length of the Perseids is worthy of attention, the shower peaks this year Aug. 11-13, where it’s possible — on a clear night — to see up to 60 meteors per hour.

In honor of this year's Perseids, Headwaters Alliance (HWA) is hosting a Star Party on Aug. 12 just outside of Creede on Pool Table Road. Along with the meteors themselves, the event is highlighted by two local astronomy experts, Dr. Dave Robinson and Terry Taddeucci, who will share their knowledge and passion for the stars.

Dr. Robinson is a retired Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a retired distinguished research scientist. Currently, he is a blacksmith in Creede and also part of the Global Meteor Network that works with local, curious citizen scientists in 23 countries across the globe. Using 450 low-cost cameras and open source technology, the network tracks meteors and meteorites, analyzes their composition, trajectories and more. Robinson is excited to share his work at the Global Meteor Network during the Perseid watch party.

“Tracking meteors helps scientists understand the risks to space travel from meteor impacts,” says Dr. Robinson. “Collecting specimens from meteorite falls allows for better understanding the composition of interstellar materials, their origins within the universe and hence our place in the grand scheme.”

Creede is an ideal location for meteor showers because of the extremely dark sky, an attribute that Headwaters Alliance is working to preserve and one that Taddeucci greatly appreciates.

“I am originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and still have vivid memories of looking up at the blazing stars from the shores of Lake Superior and feeling like I could float away into space,” says Taddeucci. “Of all the places I've lived since then, the dark skies of Creede come closest to replicating that childhood experience.”

Taddeucci is a retired nuclear and particle physics researcher who worked in Los Alamos. A longtime astronomy buff, he owns several telescopes, the largest of which is a 16-inch reflector. He’ll be bringing a telescope for the watch party that has the ability to connect to a video display to allow easier viewing of the distant sky. But even without a telescope, Taddeucci is enamored by the night sky.

“You don't need a large or expensive telescope to enjoy looking at the stars,” adds Taddeucci, “just dark skies and a sense of curiosity.”

HWA is delighted to invite folks to the Star Party to view stars, meteors, a potluck and even staying the night. As Taddeucci says, bring your sense of curiosity.

The event includes a potluck. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Robinson will speak at 8 p.m. and Taddeucci will follow with his telescope and video display. The location is 4 miles up Pool Table Road from Highway 149 south of Creede.

This event is part of a bigger initiative by HWA to designate much of Mineral County an International Dark Sky Reserve which protects this incredible resource. Information will be available at the event on their application process and ways to get involved.

“I applaud Headwaters Alliance,” says Taddeucci, “for sponsoring events to help convince our friends and neighbors in Mineral County that our dark skies are a resource worth preserving and enjoying.”

Head to headwatersalliance.com, for more information or contact Alex Handloff at [email protected]. This is a weather dependent event.

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