Paynetown hosts meteor shower viewing opportunity

The Geminids meteor shower will light up the night sky Saturday night, providing spectators with a bright and intensely colored light show.

People will be gathering at the Paynetown State Recreation Area and meeting at the Deer Run Shelter from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to view and learn more about the mysteries of the universe, naturalist Jill Vance said.

She said she is hopeful that people will actually be able to see meteors this year at the free event.

“Cloudy skies mean not much to see,” she said.

Last year, when they attempted to host a viewing of the Geminids shower, cloud-cover prevented people from seeing much of anything, Vance said.

This viewing has been on the calendar for a year and required the work of publicizing the event, as well as coordinating logistics, she said.

She said people will be able to check the Paynetown website the day of the shower after 4 p.m. for weather ?conditions.

Outside of the potential for bad weather, Vance said this is one of the most reliable showers to try and view.

Though there are no guarantees people will be able to see the glowing shower filled with fireballs and bright vibrant colors, the Geminds meteor shower has the best potential for being visible.

“We’ll be watching for those,” she said.

Along with people simply viewing with their naked eyes, some volunteers will also bring telescopes with which to observe the night sky, Vance said.

Naturalists will be available during the event to answer questions about celestial bodies and provide more information about the shower, she said.

Though similar events have been done in the past, this should be the first time the event successfully observes this meteor shower, Vance said.

Vance said the Payntown State Recreation Area has hosted viewings for the Persied meteor shower in ?the past.

A lot of people will come out to the Persied viewing because it is in August when the weather is much more tolerable, she said.

Between 30 and 150 people have attended in years past, but Paynetown has never hosted a shower viewing in December, she said.

Vance said one of the benefits of a shower in December is that people don’t have to stay up late to enjoy it.

In order to prepare for the event, Vance said they will be lighting a bonfire and serving hot chocolate to help people stay warm.

She said she recommends people dress for the conditions and bring blankets and extra layers of clothing.

She described watching the meteor shower as nature’s fireworks, saying people will catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of their eyes.

“It’s beautiful,” Vance said.

Sometimes, though, if they are lucky, she said they will be able to catch a meteor with a long path across the sky.

Vance said people should come for the beauty of the ?experience.

It can be very difficult to see the Geminids meteor shower in town because of light pollution, which is why Paynetown offers an alternative viewing location, ?she said.

Vance said the event offers people a chance to appreciate the universe more.

“It’s just a really good opportunity to enjoy the night sky,” she said.

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