The dark skies over the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park should provide a great backdrop to watch the Perseid Meteor Showers this weekend.
The Northern Sky Astronomical Society of Grand Forks, an amateur astronomy club associated with the University of North Dakota, will host a star party for the annual event this Friday and Saturday at the unit's Oxbow Overlook.
Telescopes will be set up at sunset at the overlook. Constellation tours will be offered as soon as stars are visible, at approximately 10 p.m. CDT. In addition, the Sun can be viewed through a solar telescope at the Cannonball Concretions pullout from 2-3 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
“The Star Party coincides with the new moon, so the sky will be very dark, creating excellent conditions for viewing the night sky,” said park Superintendent Valerie Naylor. “Dark skies are a rapidly vanishing resource in the U.S. Many people don’t have the opportunity to see stars because of light pollution from cities and other development. The night sky is an important resource in the park, so we’re pleased to again welcome this annual event.”
The Oxbow Overlook is at the end of the North Unit’s Scenic Drive, 14 miles from the park’s entrance. Caution is advised while driving in the park after dark, as bison and other wildlife may be on the road. Nights in the North Dakota badlands can be cool and rain is possible; a jacket or sweater is recommended. Please call the North Unit Visitor Center at 701-842-9071 for further information and an updated weather forecast.
The Northern Sky Astronomical Society of Grand Forks is dedicated to observing the sky and educating others about astronomy. Membership is open to the general public.