Special Events

In addition to our regular Friday Night Open Houses we also try to schedule other events that vary according to availability. Past special events have included the Solar Eclipse of 2017, the transit of Venus in 2012, bright comets and meteor showers. All of our observing events are dependent on weather. For 2021 we have identified the following events which we intend to support at Broemmelsiek Park.

The Perseid Meteor Shower (Aug 11/12)=Weds eve/Thurs AM

Not yet an "official" St Charles County Parks event. Join us at Broemmelsiek Park. Fortunately, this year the moon is just past Last Quarter (Waning Crescent). *ALL EVENTS ARE DEPENDENT ON THE WEATHER* Best viewing this year is from 10PM thru 3:30 AM. Moon is 13% illuminated. Moonset is 9:11 PM CDT on August 11.

(Dates shown may be affected by local weather. We may locally choose to observe the night after or even two nights after if necessary.)

Per the American Meteor Society:

The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 13 to August 26. They reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum.The Perseids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.



Not yet an "official" St Charles County event.

In 2021, the peak of the Geminids coincides with a 78% illuminated Moon, so conditions are NOT ideal. It is one of the most active showers of the year, and in some years is the strongest, with a peak rate of around 100 meteors per hour. It is the one major shower that shows good activity before midnight (the constellation of Gemini is well placed from 10:00PM onward).

Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game, so it's best to bring a comfy chair to sit on and to wrap up warm as you could be outside for a while. They can be seen with the naked eye so there's no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.

It is best not to look directly at the radiant as this can limit the number of meteors you see. Try instead to look just to the side in a dark area of sky and you will be more likely to catch sight of some meteors with long trails!

Moonset is 1:57 AM CST. So the best observing time will be 2AM - 5AM on the 14th.

Geminid facts

  • Together with the Quadrantids, the Geminids are the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet.

  • The beautiful streaks we see in the night sky can actually be caused by particles as small as a grain of sand!

  • Geminids were first observed in 1862, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids and Leonids.

  • The Geminids are thought to be intensifying every year.