Watch the Perseid meteor shower at Monkton Nature Reserve

Stargazing at Monkton Nature Reserve Photo Tim Long

Residents are invited to watch the Perseid meteor shower at Monkton Nature Reserve on Monday (August 12).

The Monkton Stargazers group say the shower might not be as spectacular as previous ones because the Moon will be fairly bright but may still offer streaks of light.

The watch will start at 9pm when the Mayor of Ramsgate Raushan Ara will officially open Tim’s Observatory. Member Tim Long will explain how people can do astronomy from their armchair with his robotic autonomous telescope.

While waiting for it to become dark enough to see the meteors visitors can view Jupiter and the Galilean moons, Saturn and its rings and of course the Moon. Artist Melanie Kathryn King, co-Director of Super/Collider, Lumen Studios and the London Alternative Photography Collective will help the group take a photograph of the Moon with the telescopes and then print the image using Polaroid film for a small charge.

What is a meteor?

A meteor occurs when a particle, a meteoroid, which may be no bigger than a grain of sand, enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporises.

Shower meteors occur when the Earth passes through the debris stream left around the orbit of, typically, a comet. Some meteor showers are associated with the debris trails of asteroids, rather than comets.

Perseid’s activity range is from July 17 to August  24 annually, with its zenithal hourly rate, for us on August 12. The rate might be 110 per hour, the second highest of all of the showers. The speed of entry through the atmosphere is impressive at 212,400 km/hr!

In previous years, the Stargazers have had between 5 and 50 spots during an evening. Usually the  best rates are after midnight.

Times and cost

The event is open between 9pm to 10pm for entry to the Reserve and will be open until about 2am.Hot chocolate can be purchased in the Cabin between 9pm and 10pm

It may be chilly and visitors should prepare for possible mosquitoes. A rug to sit on, a thermos and a snack may be required.

Members’ entry is free with a valid membership card.

Non members pay £5 for an adult and £2.50 for a child (U16) on the night. You can join membership in advance via the website www.monkton-reserve.org. £25 Family, £20 Joint, £15 single all per annum.

No dogs or smoking/vaping anywhere on site.

Children must be under the control of their parent or guardian at all times.

The Stargazers, who are all volunteers, have public viewings on the fourth Friday monthly from August to April. Website for events www.monkton-reserve.org. Other unscheduled events also take place and are advised to members.

The reserve is run by Thanet Countryside Trust.

Details with thanks to Roy Finch, Monkton Stargazers

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