The University of North TexasAstronomy program will host an open house and star watch party at 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center in Ponder. The event coincides with the Perseid Meteor Shower, arguably one of the best meteor showers for viewing in the Northern hemisphere this year. Approximately 50 to 100 meteors per hour will enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the peak of the sky event.
Astronomy Laboratory Director Ron “Starman” DiIulio calculates that guests should see one bright meteor flash every minute or so.
“The Perseid meteor shower is a great opportunity to see meteors and their firework-like flashes,” said Dilulio “This year should be especially dramatic because the moon will not be visible, making it easier to see even the faintest meteor trails as they streak across the sky.”
During the open house, multiple telescopes will be available for guests to get an up-close look at Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. There will be a presentation on the Perseid Meteor Shower, explaining what it is and how to observe it, followed by an observation of the shower. Attendees are welcome and encouraged to bring cameras, retractable lawn chairs, blankets, and non-alcoholic beverages. Admission is limited to 200 guests.
The event runs from 9 p.m. Aug. 11 (Saturday) until 2 a.m. the next day. Admission is $5. Tickets will be available for purchase during the event at the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center, located at 2350 Tom Cole Road in Ponder.
The UNT Sky Theatre planetarium, located on the main UNT Campus in Denton, will also present a special program that evening alongside its regularly scheduled shows. Combination prices will be offered for those who wish to attend both the 8 p.m. planetarium show and the Rafes Urban Astronomy Center open house. Combination tickets can be purchased at the planetarium on the day of the open house:
- $7 Students with ID
- $7 Children under 12
- $8 UNT Employees and Senior Citizens
- $9 Adults
The astronomy program is part of the UNT’s College of Science’s offerings of academic programs and educational resources, as well as public and private events. For information visit http://astronomy.unt.edu. For a list of planetarium shows and times visit http://astronomy.unt.edu/nowshowing.