By Jason Beverlin
Deputy Director of the Illinois River Program
August 2008 — It’s been a busy summer, so it was nice to take a break recently and enjoy nature — even though this time, nature was at her best at 3:30am.
The Perseids asteroid shower occurs every year in mid-August, and Emiquon is the perfect place to watch the display — we’re far from city lights, so it gets dark enough for a great view of the meteor shower, which peaks at about one shooting star every minute.
A couple dozen people gathered by Thompson Lake at 3:30 a.m. on August 13 to watch the shower. The lake is peaceful in the early morning, with only the sounds of crickets, bullfrogs and birds in the background. Dr. John Martin, assistant professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Illinois – Springfield, spoke between shooting stars about meteors and constellations. The meteors we saw are actually quite small — about the size of a pea — but they made for a truly spectacular show.