'SHOOTING STARS' FOCUS OF PLANETARIUM PRESENTATION AND OBSERVATORY VIEWING
Dr. Ken Trantham
chair, UNK Department of Physics and Physical Science, (o) 308.865.8278 (c) 308.293.3986 or tranthamkw@unk.edu

Described as “one of the summer’s premier sky events,” the Perseid meteor shower, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, will be the focus of two University of Nebraska at Kearney events this weekend.

On Friday, the meteor shower will be the subject of the last UNK planetarium show for the summer. The show will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, in Bruner Hall of Science on the campus. On Sunday, Aug. 12, the UNK Department of Physics and Physical Science, in collaboration with Seven Hills Observatory, will host a meteor shower viewing from 10 p.m. to midnight. Both events are free and open to the public.

While there is no charge for the planetarium show, individuals need tickets to secure seating. The free tickets, one per person, are handed out at the door on a first-come, first-served basis, and may be picked up as much as 45 minutes in advance. And although there is no charge, donations of dry or canned goods for a local food pantry are accepted.

The planetarium presentation Friday night will give an overview of the current skies. After the overview, guest presenter Dan Glomski will explain why the meteor show occurs, as well as when and how to view it.

According to Dr. Ken Trantham, UNK Department of Physics & Physical Science chair, the Perseid meteor shower is “one of the summer’s premier sky events…one of the year’s best opportunities to view ‘shooting stars.’”

“The Perseids are a prolific meteor show associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle,” Dr. Trantham said. “They are so named, because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus.”

Local astronomers Glomski and Mark Urwiller, along with UNK astronomer Dr. Lee Powell, will be available to answer questions during the meteor shower viewing at Seven Hills Observatory. Attendees will need to bring lawn chairs for seating. Complimentary refreshments will be available; however, no public restrooms are available at this location.

“This event cannot be rescheduled due to cloudy or otherwise unfavorable viewing conditions,” Dr. Trantham said.

In case of questionable weather conditions, individuals can check www.unk.edu/physics after 6 p.m. on Sunday for the status of the event.  

To get to Seven Hills Observatory, visitors take Highway 30 west out of Kearney, turn right (north) on Cottonmill Avenue, and continue on past Cottonmill Park to Ridge Line Road. Turn right (east) on Ridge Line Road until there is a fork in the road. Take the road on the left. The observatory is on the left at the top of the hill.