Aug. 14 Star Party set for Bates State Park in eastern Oregon (2015)

New moon and Perseids meteor shower pair for perfect night sky watching

Eastern Oregon night sky

Dark skies in eastern Oregon are perfect for stargazing. This photo was taken at Wallowa Lake State Park in July.

The night sky over Bates State Park east of John Day will set the scene for a Star Party Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Join local amateur astronomers and volunteers with telescopes to view summer constellations, star clusters and planets.

“We are fortunate in rural eastern Oregon to have incredible dark night skies, with little to no light pollution,” said Park Manager Dennis Bradley. “Add a new moon and the Perseids meteor shower to the mix, and we have the perfect formula for an unforgettable evening.”

The Perseids meteor shower produces up to 60 bright meteors per hour from mid-July through late August, peaking this year Aug. 12-13. The night sky will be darker than usual on Aug. 14 because the new moon will not be visible and thus no moonlight.

The evening includes an old-fashioned campfire and storytelling from folks who lived in Bates when it was still a thriving logging town. You and your family can gather around the campfire for singing, roasting marshmallows and munching on s’mores provided by the park. The event and day-use parking are free.

Saturday morning take a tour of nearby Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area and the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site museum in John Day. Both the dredge and museum are free.

Bates State Park (park information and driving directions) has 28 primitive sites available first-come, first-served. Pitch your tent or sleep under the stars. Bates State Park is 30 miles northeast of John Day located on Middle Fork Lane off Highway 7, one mile north of its intersection with U.S. 26 at Austin Junction.

Posted on August 4, 2015, in camping, event, state parks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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