CHICAGO — Montrose Beach in Uptown and 12th Street Beach at Northerly Island will have extended hours on Saturday and Sunday during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, giving people along the lakefront until midnight to search the skies for shooting stars.
The meteor shower is a summertime favorite in the Northern Hemisphere that, according to the Illinois Science Council, "occurs when the Earth’s orbit passes through the cloud of particles ejected from the comet Swift-Tuttle as it travels on its 130-year orbit."
The point at which the meteors become visible appears to lie in the constellation Perseus — hence the name of the showers. In Greek mythology, the word Perseides refers to the sons of Perseus, a demigod of Greek mythology.
The celestial event will reach its peak between Friday and Tuesday, the council said.
"While stargazing in Chicago is hampered by light pollution, the city’s position west of the lake is fortunate," according to a news release from the council. "Ideal viewing for Chicagoans, if you can’t drive away from the city to darker areas, is along the lakefront, facing northeast away from city lights and toward rising stars."
The council said it worked with the Chicago Park District to extend the closing time at Montrose and 12th Street beaches from 11p.m. to midnight, and that north suburban Evanston, which borders Rogers Park, is also extending the hours at Lighthouse Beach until midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
The moon phase on those days, "a thin waxing crescent," won't be bright enough to interfere with the visibility of the meteor shower, assuming there aren't too many clouds, the council said.