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Perseid meteor shower program planned at historic missile site

A meteor shower is caused by sand- or pebble-sized meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes called shooting stars, these burning meteoroids are part of a stream of debris from comets as they orbit the sun. A meteor shower can be viewed as Earth passes through the debris stream.

The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site
The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic near Cooperstown, North Dakota, will host a nighttime viewing of the Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 11 from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sherri Richards / The Forum

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. – Sky watchers of all ages are invited to a nighttime viewing of the Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 11 from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site at Oscar-Zero near Cooperstown.

No special equipment is needed to watch the Perseids. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs, as the lights at Oscar-Zero are turned off for this dark sky event.

The University of North Dakota will present a space-related activity, and an exhibit on space and planets will be on view courtesy of the Griggs County Library.

The event is free, and indoor bathrooms will be available. Coolers and snacks will be permitted outdoors; no alcohol will be allowed.

A meteor shower is caused by sand- or pebble-sized meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere. Sometimes called shooting stars, these burning meteoroids are part of a stream of debris from comets as they orbit the sun. A meteor shower can be viewed as Earth passes through the debris stream. The Perseid meteors, originating from Comet Swift-Tuttle and named after the constellation Perseus, create one of the brightest astrological light shows of the year between mid-July and late August.

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The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site consists of two sites telling the story of the Cold War years in North Dakota: Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility and the November-33 Launch Facility. They are the last remnants of the 321st Missile Wing, a cluster of intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites that were spread over a 6,500-square-mile area around the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site is managed by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Summer hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. For more information or to arrange a group tour, contact Site Supervisor Robert Branting at 701-797-3691. Find additional upcoming educational programs sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota at history.nd.gov/events .

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