Giving participants a chance to see meteors and the summer constellations, and gain an understanding of what a meteor is are goals of a special event being presented by JCPRD in mid-August.
The event is called A Trail of Stardust - the Perseid Meteor Shower, and will take place from 10 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, Aug. 12, at the TimberRidge Adventure Center
in Olathe. This program is for all ages, but is recommended for ages five and older with a parent or guardian. There will be a short indoor presentation about the meteor shower and fall constellations, followed by guided night sky tour. There will also be a short walk in the dark to reach the viewing location.
“While this is a late night program, it is a great opportunity to see the night sky with a bit of guidance on constellation locations, to learn about what we are actually seeing when we see “shooting stars,” and to get a chance to see them as well” said Johnson County Park Police Officer Amber Lamble, who is presenting this program. “Historically, the Perseids have been a pretty active shower of 50-100 meteors an hour with average meteors seen being about 60-70 an hour, or about one a minute. This shower is also known to produce fireballs, which is always exciting to see. Even if the meteor shower itself is a bit disappointing, seeing the night sky is always something I never regret doing and we are often serenaded by nocturnal wildlife like owls and the distant coyote. ”
Lamble said she has been interested in astronomy since she was a kid.
“I think I was about six when I got my first star wheel,” she said. “We lived out on a farm, so we always had fantastic views of the Milky Way. I remember spending hours out on a blanket with my star wheel and a flashlight finding constellations.”
The A Trail of Stardust - the Perseid Meteor Shower will begin at 10 p.m. the TimberRidge Adventure Center’s Welcome Center, 12300 South Homestead Lane, Olathe. The cost is $9 per person for Johnson County residents, or $10 for nonresidents. Preregistration is required, as space is limited. Feel free to bring your own binoculars, and star maps, although they are not necessary. Register by calling (913) 831-3359 or online at jcprd.com.
“If you plan to participate, please bring bug spray and a blanket or chair as we will be outside for at least an hour,” Lamble added. “This program will still be conducted with an indoor adaptation even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. “
The TimberRidge Adventure Center is a 200-plus acre facility including a challenge course, climbing tower, and three ponds, and is adjacent to Kill Creek Park, which JCPRD also owns and operates. TimberRidge, which was dedicated in 2002, is accessible via an entrance which is separate from and south of the main entrance to Kill Creek Park. With the exception of an open house in the early spring, the facility is normally accessible only by reservation or as part of programming.