Events

NIU STEM Café to host Perseid meteor shower viewing

A meteor from the Perseid Meteor Shower is seen over a farm near Tonganoxie, Kan. on Aug. 13, 2015. The sky show is pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle hitting Earth's atmosphere.
A meteor from the Perseid Meteor Shower is seen over a farm near Tonganoxie, Kan. on Aug. 13, 2015. The sky show is pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle hitting Earth's atmosphere.

Northern Illinois University’s STEM Café will be hosting an evening of stargazing and discussion with astronomy experts during the annual Perseid meteor shower.

The free, family friendly event will be from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at Rochelle Municipal Airport, 1201 E. Gurler Road.

Food will be sold, including a $15 build-your-own burger or vegetarian option, cash bar and an $8 chicken tender meal for children.

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks in mid-August, when “brilliant meteors radiate from the Perseus constellation and appear throughout the sky,” according to an NIU news release.

The discussion will begin at 7:15 p.m., and after dark guests can watch the meteor shower and view the night sky using their own telescopes, or ones provided by NIU.

Although the weather can interfere with viewing, the event will be held rain or shine.

STEM educator Jeremy Benson will set up telescopes for night viewing and talk with guests about what they can expect to see and what causes a meteor shower.

Paul Stoddard, an associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences, will talk about the solar eclipse that’s set to happen Aug. 21, explain what causes the phenomenon, and what to look for.

NASA Solar System Ambassador Joel Knapper will discuss NASA’s future missions.

The event is part of NIU STEM Outreach’s series of monthly STEM Cafés, which are free, open to the public and aim to increase public awareness of the roles science, technology, engineering and math play in everyday life.

For information, call 815-753-4751 or email jdymond@niu.edu.

If you go

What: View the Perseid meteor shower and hear experts speak on relevant astronomy topics When: 7 to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 12
Where: Rochelle Municipal Airport, 1201 E. Gurler Road, Rochelle
Cost: Free admission, food and drinks available for purchase
Bring: A telescope if you have one, or use NIU equipment

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