Monday, August 8, 2011

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge To Remain Open For Meteor Shower

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Manager Lou Hinds on Thursday announced that the refuge will remain open all night from Wednesday evening, Aug. 10 until dawn on Thursday morning, Aug. 11, allowing visitors the opportunity to witness the spectacular nature of the Perseid meteor shower.

Visitors wishing to participate must arrive on the refuge before the entrance gate closes at 10 p.m. However, those, not wishing to stay overnight may leave at any time. Anyone who leaves after 10 p.m. will not be permitted to re-enter until 5 a.m. the following morning.

Public access to trails and other visitor facilities will be prohibited after 10 p.m., but beach access and parking will remain open. All campfires will be prohibited after 10 p.m. to enhance nighttime viewing opportunities.

For more information about the Perseid meteor shower observation at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, call (757) 336-6122.


What are meteor showers?

An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower.

Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet's orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.


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