The cosmos will be putting on quite a show in the night skies this weekend, and there are plenty of seats in the house.
The Perseid Meteor Shower is a prolific meteor shower that is visible around mid-July each year, with the peak activity this year between August 9 and 14. Sunday night after midnight into Monday morning will provide the most action.
During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour are possible. They can be seen from anywhere, but visibility is best in the northern hemisphere.
From August 10 to 11, observing will be open to public from dark to midnight at the Custer Institute, Long Island’s oldest public observatory. Starting at 9 p.m., staff will provide guided tours of the sky at Custer, which also holds frequent lectures, classes, concerts, art exhibits and other special events.
New York State Parks, which usually close at sundown, will be open late to allow for public viewing of the shower. There will be no charge Sunday night into early Monday morning and the normal star gazing permit will not be required, but stargazers must remain in their vehicles.
Wildwood State Park in Wading River provides the closest state park for Northforkers, but up-Island parks that will also be open include Jones Beach Park West End II and Gov. Alfred Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park Field 3, as well as Montauk Pointe State Park Upper Lot on the South Fork.
For something a little different, Sherwood House in Jamesport will also provide a place to sip wine while you stargaze. For $25 a person, bring snacks and blankets and while they supply the wine. An astronomer from the Custer Observatory will also be there with a giant telescope to provide a tour of the night sky during the shower on Monday, August 12 from 8 – 10 p.m. For tickets, call (631) 779-2817 or email [email protected]