By UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
GREAT BEND — The Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC), located northeast of Great Bend on K-156 Highway, is gearing up for its annual “Out of this World” Perseid Meteor Shower Watch Party.
The public is invited to join the KWEC staff for this free, family-friendly activity. Each year, as the Earth passes through the dust and debris of the Swift-Tuttle comet, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center celebrates the end of summer with our guests by watching the meteors or shooting stars as they burn in our atmosphere.
This event coincides with the anticipated peak in meteor shower activity for the month on Aug. 12, from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Stargazers may be able to spot from 60-100 meteors per hour during this time. While we anticipate some potential light pollution from the last Supermoon (a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth) of the calendar year that will peak the night before, the show will go on regardless of the conditions.
Guests at the meteor show watch party can also take advantage of an opportunity to learn about the science behind the remarkable images recently delivered by the James Webb Space Telescope.
The Webb telescope is the successor of the Hubbell Space Telescope. It uses giant mirrors to create infrared images. Those in attendance can learn how this infrared energy works through a hands-on experiment. Event participants will also be able to walk through a massive star’s life cycle while creating a take-home reminder of the process.
Other hands-on activities include creating a spiral galaxy with a spin and paint machine, building a solar-powered moon base welcome sign, enjoying a view of the night sky, and listening to stories about the constellations in an inflatable planetarium. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and munch on s’mores as they scan the night skies. More information about the KWEC can be found at www.wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu or by calling 1-877-243-9268.