Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Star Gazing

One of my favorite things about the Aspen area is the lack of all types of pollution. There is very little noise pollution, light pollution, or air pollution compared to most places I have ever been. This lack of pollution is of course great for ones overall health. In addition to the health benefits, there is the benefit of clear skies for those who enjoy scouring the night sky in search of shooting stars, meteors, constellations, or just enjoying the natural beauty. On that note I would like to highlight some of the upcoming celestial delights that await those who wish to see them. The first (and the one I’m most excited for) is the Persieds Meteor shower, which is set to peak on the night of August 12th and morning of August 13th, with the possibility of seeing an abnormally high amount of meteors remaining until August the 22nd. At its peak this meteor shower can produce up to 60 visible meteors per hour. All one needs to do to observe this spectacular show is look up to the Northeast sky after midnight. The night of August 13th will also be playing host to the “Triple Conjunction with the Moon,” during which the planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn will be in abnormally close proximity to the moon, which will be a thin crescent at this time. The last notable celestial event for August will take place on August 20th. At this time the planet Neptune will be at it’s closest distance to earth. A high powered telescope is necessary to make this event more impressive. Without a telescope, it will appear as nothing more than a small blue dot. The best way to view these events from close to town would be to walk up to the top of Smuggler Mountain. I would suggest having a head lamp or high powered flashlight as it will be pitch black. Another great way to have optimum star gazing is to go camping at one of the many campgrounds within just miles of Aspen.

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