Academic department hosting meteor shower viewing at Waterrock Knob

Enrique Gomez

Western Carolina University’s Department of Chemistry and Physics will host a viewing of the Perseid meteor shower from 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, through sunrise on Sunday, Aug. 13, at Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Early morning hours are when the greatest number of meteors per hour can be seen, as we will be on the side of the Earth facing the stream of particles from comet Swift-Tuttle, which give birth to this meteor shower,” said Enrique Gomez, WCU associate professor of physics. “This year, however, there will some interference from a late-rising moon.”

Participants are encouraged to dress warmly, as weather conditions at the Waterrock Knob parking area, where the viewing will take place at 5,820 feet in elevation, could be more like October than August. A lawn chair will provide a comfortable place from which to view the meteors, Gomez said.

Telescopes will be available for participants to also view the moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn, as well as various summertime star clusters and nebulae, Gomez said.

Waterrock Knob is located at parkway milepost 451.2, about eight miles northwest of Balsam. If skies are completely overcast, the event will be canceled. Updates on the status of the viewing will be available by calling Gomez at 828-227-2718.