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Perseid meteor shower draws residents to Bald Mountain



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August 13, 2014 - By Katie Winkler

Review Staff Writer

More than 500 stargazers from surrounding areas laid out blankets, roasted marshmallows and gazed into the nighttime sky at Bald Mountain Recreational Park to catch sight of the Perseid meteor shower last Saturday night.

Perseid is unlike most meteor events since it happens annually in August where it can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. According to Earthsky.org, "The Perseid meteor shower will probably peak on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. On a dark, moonless night, you can often see 50 or more meteors per hour from northerly latitudes, and from southerly latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere."

Like the many who gathered at Bald Mountain beach, the Perseid meteors could be seen without any special equipment, in open dark part of the sky.

The Warner Astronomical Society provided a telescope so attendees could see Saturn and the moon and "talked about astronomy to people who normally don't know much about [meteors]," said Bald Mountain Park Supervisor Andrew Cole.

"This is neat to see," Cole said. "I don't think you get a lot of astronomy activity like this, so this is rare."

In addition to the meteor shower, Bald Mountain provided marshmallows, gram crackers and chocolate to make "s'mores" on the on-site grills.

Compared to last year's "Meteors & S'mores" event, which only drew about 60 people, this year's was very successful and seems to be growing every year.

"It's something to do during a time of day where they don't have a lot to do in our park," Cole said.

The Meteors & S'mores' success may have come from the media publicity Bald Mountain received over the past few weeks.

For residents like Morean Harmann, of Rochester, segments were seen on the news and her family attended because they "thought it would be interesting thing to see."

Once the shower wrapped up early the following morning, Bryan Hartwell from Madison Heights described the view as "beautiful natural fireworks."

For more events happening at Bald Mountain Recreational Park, visit Michigan.gov or contact the park office at (248) 693-6767.

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