Don’t be surprised if you see a group of stargazers laying back comfortably gazing at the night sky in Sorauren Park on Saturday.
On Aug. 11 Perseid meteor shower flashes across the sky and to mark the event longtime astronomy hobbyist and Roncesvalles Village resident Doug Bennet has planned the inaugural event of Sorauren Stargazers.
Bennet is calling all stargazers to gather at 10 p.m. in the baseball outfield (close to the dog park) to lie on the grassy slope and watch for meteors.
The idea came to Bennet when he and his son went to Sorauren Park to watch the transit of Venus in June. He used a pair of binoculars to project the event onto a big white board. A crowd of people gathered around to watch the projection of Venus moving across the face of the sun.
“I thought, maybe we should start up a little ad-hoc astronomy club at Sorauren Park,” Bennet explained.
The Perseid meteor shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between Aug. 9 and 14. How clearly the meteors will be on Saturday remains to be seen because of all of the lights in the area, but Bennet is optimistic about the view.
“Because Aug. 11 is going to be a moonless night you have a better chance of seeing the Perseid meteors when there is no moon out to wash out the sky,” Bennet said.
No special gear is required, just bring camping pads, blankets, pillows, reclining lawn chairs, refreshments and whatever will make you comfortable, he said.
If the Sorauren Stargazers inaugural event is a success, Bennet said he hopes to have future events during lunar eclipses, meteor showers or other astrological events.
“Hopefully we will have a few people join,” Bennet said. “It’s just an opportunity to get away from computer screens and televisions and enjoy nature right from our backyard essentially.”