Shasta-Trinity NRA hosts free star-gazing event at Shasta Lake

Schirete Zick
Shasta-Trinity National Forest, U.S. Forest Service and Stephanie Bryant, Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Forest Service
October 22nd, 2013 at 3:30PM

Approximately 80 people oohed and ahhed as meteors streaked across the sky from all directions over Shasta Lake during the Aug. 11 Perseid meteor showers. In partnership with the Shasta Astronomy Club, the Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area provided visitors with expert information on celestial objects and events and a guided tour through the night sky.

The dark night skies along the shores of Shasta Lake provided the perfect backdrop for the annual Perseid meteors which put on a dazzling display of shooting stars each year. At times, 50 to 100 meteors streaked across the sky in an hour.  Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area staff compiled a list of sightings to contribute to NASA’s ongoing tracking for this meteor shower.

During the two-hour event, the Shasta Astronomy Club spoke to the attendees about what meteors are and why meteor showers occur, as well as provided telescopes to help explore the night sky. Andrea Capps, interpretive specialist for Shasta-Trinity National Forest said this was the first year the forest and recreation area have put on this free star-gazing event. 

“Local (residents), in particular, were very happy to see our interpretive program being so active (in the Jones Valley area),” Capps said.

The event was offered to promote usage of the recreation area for activities not traditionally explored or highlighted. 

“A lot of people boat and recreate on the lake and some use trails and campgrounds, but no one really spends time doing a lot of natural world exploration,” Capps explained. “We want visitors, and especially local residents, to know that we offer regular interpretive opportunities and special events.”

Recreation area staff deemed the event such a success that they plan to host it again at the lake next year.