Chincoteague, VA – Ever wished upon a star? There may be plenty of shooting stars to choose from during the Perseid meteor shower. For an early view, undisturbed by traffic and city lights, come to your favorite barrier island beach! On August 11, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is hosting the NASA Astronomy Night Sky Summer Series and will remain open overnight for a pleasant evening of stargazing, if the weather cooperates.
Start the night learning some background information, with an Astronomy 101 presentation at the Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center. The program will be presented three times – 7:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30pm – by employees of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center. Auditorium presentations are offered regardless of weather, but space is limited to 140 people per session.
After the program, head to the beach, where experts and telescopes will be available from approximately 8:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. (weather permitting). To accommodate the event, Parking Lot # 1 will close to vehicle traffic from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Can’t get enough? Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is keeping the recreational beach open all night for stargazers! From Saturday evening, August 11, until dawn on Sunday, August 12, visitors are invited to settle in for a full night of sky watching. A red light is recommended to maintain night vision. Don’t forget binoculars and insect repellant!
Visitors wishing to enjoy overnight stargazing must arrive on the refuge before the entrance gate closes at 10:00 p.m. onSaturday, August 11. You may leave at any time. Anyone leaving after 10:00 p.m. will not be permitted to re-enter until 5:00 a.m.the following day. Only beach access and parking will remain open after-hours. Public access to trails and other visitor facilities is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. For optimal nighttime viewing, campfires are not allowed after 10:00 p.m.
The Astronomy Night Sky Summer Series is presented by NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center in collaboration with Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island National Seashore, and the Delmarva Space Sciences Foundation (DSSF). Guided sky viewing through high-powered telescopes is provided by DSSF. These activities are free and open to the public. However, standard refuge entrance fees still apply.
For more information about the Perseid meteor shower viewing opportunities at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, please call (757) 336-6122.