PhillyFilter: Where should I go view the Perseids Meteor Shower?
August 10, 2008 11:20 AM   Subscribe

philly-philter: The Perseids Meteor Shower is coming! Where should I drive to outside of the city to get a good view?

Trying to find a nice place to view the showers. Not sure who I'm talking into coming along, but trying to make it more of a date thing. I was thinking a community park might be nice? Maybe a campground near by? The Philly burbs would be nice, but I wouldn't mind a drive to Jersey.
posted by nayten to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I was an astronomy student at Villanova, we'd often take night trips to Pine Barrens in Jersey. Great place to get away from the light pollution of Philly.
posted by waitangi at 11:32 AM on August 10, 2008

You could take the R3 train to Swarthmore. I used to go to Swarthmore College's observatory nights, and would also stargaze from the Holly Collection (on the left on this map). The Scott Arboretum visitor center could give you more info if you call them. You could bring a picnic blanket and a flashlight, maybe some bug spray just in case, then walk down the path (entrance near the field house) and set up camp on the hill amidst the holly trees. There's even a neat grouping of stones called "crumhenge" (after stonehenge+crum creek) at the bottom of that hill. You can see the hill I'm talking about in this photo, but it wouldn't be snowing of course. Should be very quiet this time of year. You might see some lightning bugs, but probably not a lot of other people.

The entire arboretum is a great place to take a date, as the gardens are beautiful and the campus is incredibly safe. I recommend a walk past Parish Hall and down through the amphitheater. You could stop by the Swarthmore CO-OP store first to pick up some picnic snacks, too! Just check for the last train home - I think it might be around midnight. Or, it is really an easy drive, just off 476.
posted by belau at 12:04 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Pine Barrens. Just got back from a bike ride there, and yeah, it's still undeveloped and non-light-polluted.
posted by fixedgear at 12:13 PM on August 10, 2008

Maybe it's too far, but in north-central PA is the Cherry Springs Dark Sky Project public observatory.
posted by xo at 12:18 PM on August 10, 2008

Best answer: If I remember rightly, Valley Forge has a National Park that had beautiful night skies. On a clear night you'll see all the stars you could hope to see.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on August 10, 2008

Here's a map showing observation locations. Stay away from the white and red dots.
posted by joe vrrr at 2:22 PM on August 10, 2008

Response by poster: Great suggestions everyone! I'm probably going to look into the Swathmore or Valley Forge locations. Thanks for your help so far!
posted by nayten at 10:11 AM on August 11, 2008

Best answer: Valley Forge was great! We parked in the biking rentals lot and found a nice piece of ground to spread a blanket out. Reminder: don't forget your keys in the car!
posted by nayten at 10:28 AM on August 14, 2008

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:14 PM on August 21, 2008

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