Perseids Viewing

The Earth is rapidly approaching the densest part of the debris trail of the comet Swift-Tuttle, the new moon will be providing plenty of darkness, and now the Western Montana weather appears to be cooperating as well, so...

Put in your vacation notice for Friday and come out with the Missoula Area Secular Society to spend Thursday night staying up into the wee hours far away from city lights learning about astronomy, or sharing what you know, while watching (potentially up to 100/hour) fiery meteors streak across the sky as they get clobbered by Earth's atmosphere.

Directions: Take Hwy 200 North up the Blackfoot approximately 38 miles. Half a mile *before* the junction with Hwy 83 (Giant Cow) there is a bridge over the Clearwater River and a fishing access site just past the bridge. You're going to want to turn left immediately *before* the bridge onto a dirt road.

However, you're probably going to miss your turn and go over the bridge (I do it all the time). In this case, turn around in the fishing access site, or go half a mile further up to the Giant Cow and turn around there. Then, on your way back, turn right immediately *after* the bridge.

Follow this dirt road north approx 1.5 miles to a point where the river gets wide enough for some people to call a small lake. Look for a giant TeePee style tent (about 12 feet tall) somewhere along the shore (should be there no later than 7pm).

The road in is not well maintained and can get heavily rutted, so use caution, but don't think that you're lost. Cars with low clearance should be able to navigate the road with little difficulty as long as they take it slow and watch where they're going.

Bring a tent to retire to once fireballs streaking across the sky are no longer enough to keep yourself awake. There will be LOTS of room to setup tents and even though you'll want to watch the stars the forecast low for the nearest town (Ovando) is 44 degrees and there may be an isolated thunderstorm or two. If you've got a good warm sleeping bag, you may try to sleep out under the stars anyway. DRESS WARM. I repeat, the forecast low is 44 Degrees!

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