If you like meteor showers, shooting stars, constellations, astronomy, star-gazing and skywatching, then you know that the Finger Lakes Region in New York State is an incredible place to set down a blanket, lie back under the stars and pick out the constellations, watch for shooting stars, and if you are really lucky, catch a view of the elusive Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Meteors are tiny bits of space rock and comet debris that vaporize when they enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere causing beautiful streaks of light in the night sky. Meteor showers usually happen when the Earth travels through the path of icy debris and particles that a comet sheds and leaves behind as it orbits the sun. Meteor showers are named after the constellation that the shooting stars seem originate from (the “radiant”). Most meteors burn up and disintegrate in the upper atmosphere high above us, giving us the treat of seeing a “shooting star”. If a meteor survives the trip and manages to hit the ground, it is called a “meteorite”.
When going out for a night of stargazing, there are a few things you can bring along to make you more comfortable…
- A blanket, yoga mat, or a reclining chair (like a zero-gravity chair) makes it a lot more comfortable to lay down or recline while looking up at the sky.
- Layered clothing or a jacket for when the nighttime chill sets in.
- Bug spray, if you are the tasty type to insects.
- Binoculars – not necessary, but can be fun. Even a small pair of binoculars will enhance the amount of stars you can see and can bring out some details you wouldn’t see with the naked eye, especially when looking at the moon.
2017 Meteor Showers
- Quadrantid Meteor Shower (Draco NE): January 03, 2017
- Lyrid Meteor Shower (Lyra E): April 22, 2017
- Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower (Aquarius E): May 06, 2017
- Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower (Aquarius S): July 30, 2017
- Perseids Meteor Shower (Perseus NE): August 12, 2017
- Orionids Meteor Shower (Orion SE): October 21, 2017
- South Taurids Meteor Shower (Taurus S): November 05, 2017
- Leonids Meteor Shower (Leo E): November 17, 2017
- Geminids Meteor Shower (Gemini S): December 14, 2017
- Ursids Meteor Shower: December 22, 2017