Dr. Lawless Dark Sky Park gives Michiana a stellar view of Geminid meteor shower

NOW: Dr. Lawless Dark Sky Park gives Michiana a stellar view of Geminid meteor shower

CASS COUNTY, Mich. -- Many were looking up to the skies Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the Geminid Meteor Shower.

It happens this time every year, but it’s the first time in quite some time that it’s been especially visible in Michiana, with clear skies and a young, new moon to thank.

“I would tell everybody that it was the most prolific meteor shower I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been doing this since I was about six years old,” says Robert Parrish with Dr. Lawless International Dark Sky Park in Cass County.

Parrish was just seven years old when he got his first telescope for Christmas.

Now, decades later, he takes incredible pictures of the night skies and still marvels in the wonders of the stars and constellations.

On Thursday night, you could find him at southwest Michigan’s only dark sky park with his equipment in tow, teaching others about the Geminid meteor shower.

“The earth, as it makes its path around the sun, goes through a path that the comet went by,” Parrish explains. “The particles left by the comet is what the earth runs into and that’s the meteors you see coming across the sky.”  

He’s claimed the title of ‘Dark Sky Guy’ at the park and is an advocate for dark sky preservation, passionate about the dangers of light pollution. 

According to the International Dark Sky Association, an average year of outdoor lighting in the US produces enough energy to meet New York City’s total electricity needs for two years. 

“I look at it from the standpoint that mother nature is very beautiful, but it’s just as beautiful at night as it is during the day if you can get away from the light pollution,” says Parrish.

That’s why he says it’s important to relish in the beauty of a total dark sky, but if you look at it from a dark sky park, the sky is truly anything but dark. 

“The universe is massive,” Parrish says. “This is just one small segment of the many things you can experience when you’re into the stars like I am.” 

The park has a Facebook page where you can keep up with events as well as see the best nights for looking up at the skies. 

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