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Observatory near Penticton perfect place to watch the Perseids

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory welcomes the public to the facility Saturday evening, Aug. 13, 2016, to watch and learn about the Perseid Meteor showers taking place this month.
August 11, 2016 - 11:30 AM

PENTICTON - With an astrophysical observatory fully staffed by astronomers practically in one’s backyard, there is probably no better place in the South Okanagan to watch this year’s Perseid meteor shower than at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.

The public is invited to come and watch the night time event this weekend at the observatory on White Lake Road south of Penticton.

Marilyne Lavoie with the National Research Council of Canada says this year’s Perseid meteor shower is expected to be one of the best meteor viewing opportunities this year according to NASA.

Lavoie says astronomy experts will be available at the observatory to explain the science behind the phenomenon.

Gates to the grounds open at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 13. Admission is free, and visitors are advised to bring a blanket or lounge chair.

Lavoie says the observatory grounds provide a dark site from which to view the showers, in addition to being able to watch Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter through telescopes, listen to meteors by radio and attend astronomy talks by observatory scientists.

Observatory staff member Dr. Tim Robishaw says the Perseids event is traditionally well attended, with between 1,000 and 1,500 attending the event last year. He says the talks are very popular with the public. This year's event will also include tours of some of the institute's new telescopes.

"The last couple of years were kind of cloudy. We're keeping our fingers crossed we don't get any last minute thunderstorms," he says.

Dr. Ken Tapping will present Perseids 2016: Planet Under Construction demonstrating how this year’s meteor shower is another small step in the development of our planet. Dr. Tim Robishaw will discuss the history of the observatory as well.

In the event of bad weather the meteor and telescope viewing will be cancelled but the scheduled talks will be presented at 8 p.m. and the observatory grounds open until 11:15 p.m.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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