Star-gazers catch quick glimpse of Perseid from Fort Fetterman

Locals gather to look at the stars, planets and meteor shower at Fort Fetterman on Aug. 11.

They enter the atmosphere and leave their mark in the sky very quickly. If you blink, or you are not completely focused, you might miss them. Patience is key.

Converse County residents were awarded for their patience last week, as they gathered at Fort Fetterman to watch the Perseid meteor shower while also gazing at constellations and other planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs around late July to late August, as the Earth crosses into the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. As the Earth moves into its orbit, debris from the comet crashes into our atmosphere, forming meteors and creating streaks of light in the sky as they vaporize. The shower is named after the constellation Perseus, where many of the meteors seem to strike.

Fort Fetterman provided an ideal location for the viewing session, with wide open skies and lots of space to spread out.

Attendees brought chairs and blankets to relax, and there was plenty of bug spray to go around. Telescopes were set up for attendees to get a magnified view of Jupiter and Saturn, which were clearly visible in the night sky along with stars.

The event kicked off at 8 p.m., as Glenrock library branch manager Jennifer Kofoed provided instruction on the location of various stars and constellations throughout the sky.

The meteors did not make their appearance en masse until later in the evening, as the skies grew darker and some of the clouds cleared away.

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