Prince William Times:

When:: Nov. 15, 7 to 11 p.m.
Where: C.M. Crockett Park, 10066 Rogues Road, outside Nokesville
Fee: $6 per car
What to bring: Warm clothes

Grab a warm coat and get ready to enjoy the excellent horizons from C.M. Crockett Park outside Nokesville, the perfect stage for the 2014 Leonid Meteor Shower.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast expects 10 comets per hour this year, and a new moon allows for the best visibility of the annual shower, which has been a true crowd-pleaser since 1833.

The park, set away from bright lights, competes only with the lights of Manassas, and a little disruption from the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport.

The park is just across the Fauquier border, about 10 minutes from Nokesville.

The moon factors into a viewer’s ability to glimpse the meteors, and last year the full moon ruined the visibility. This November, however, the new moon provides ultimate viewing conditions. However, the forecast remains the wild card.

The Leonids show up annually and seem to emanate from the constellation Leo. No howling over the cost even from these quarters.  At least Fauquier is doing SOMETHING.  I had asked for years to have an event like this in Prince William County, specifically at Silver Lake.  I was told that I would have to pay for security.   That cost is a deal breaker.  $6 looks like a real bargain.

The question is, why does Fauquier have all the neat things?  They have fabulous regional parks.  C. M. Crockett is one such park that serves the southern section of that county.  Fauquier’s parks radiate the notion that the County cares about its parks and open spaces.  Prince William’s parks do no such thing.  In fact, they are embarrassing.

To Pete Candland’s credit, he tried to solve some of the issues at Silver Lake, which could be the gem of Prince William. Silver Lake needs far more than concerned citizens can fix is the problem.  It needs PW County to dump a lot of money into it like they promised to do when they refused to let Bull Run Mountain Conservancy take it over.  To date, they have not done so, ignoring their own plan.

I went out to Silver Lake this past week.  The road had been graded but it needs it again.  There is a chain link divider between the park area and Reagan Middle School.  The chain link fence was even eco-green.  I would have preferred poplars but I suppose it depends on the intent.  The post store had been cleaned up.  I am not sure if it is operational now or not.  It appeared that you could rent kayaks.  I saw two huge wild turkeys in the road and 11 deer grazing in the field across from Rainbow Riding.

Good job those who got out there with the elbow grease.  I expect the county did the grading and concerned volunteers did the beautification but I am not sure.  I would like to get a newsletter of praise for those volunteers if that is the case. (rather than telling me who to vote for)  That is the kind of email I like getting–constituent stuff.

Money and time from public works will be what really turns Silver Lake into the showpiece it really could be.  Meanwhile, it would be a great place to view celestial events.  Once the Battlefield picnic area closed [read DISAPPEARED] there really has been no where in the county for friends and enthusiasts to gather for eclipses, meteor showers and other amateur astronomy events. Who does one even approach to ask for such  services?  I would even be willing to pay to get in, albeit begrudgingly.

Imagine a Prince William County that valued open spaces and parks rather than trying to fudge and call median strips and school playgrounds “park lands.”  Parks are more than youth sports fields!




Note:  Meteor showers are usually best viewed right before dawn so the timing on this event isn’t optimal.  However, part of the fun is the event.  Also the article says 10 comets per hour.  That should read 10 meteors an hour.  Nov. 15 is also a little early.  Leonids  usually peak November 17, 18th.

Further reading at EarthSky.


4 Thoughts to “The Leonids: Fauquier kicks Prince William’s booty”

  1. Sean

    The biggest problem in PWC for star gazing is light pollution. The Historic Preservation Dept has held a few star gazing programs over the years but the light pollution made it less than “stellar”

    1. Oh I agree that it isn’t stellar but for people who just want to go out and look at an eclipse or meteor shower it works well enough. The community used to have fun out at the Battlefield picnic area. No longer.

      Silver Lake is good and dark…not stellar but it would work.

  2. Elena

    I agree Moon. Great post! One of the reasons, I believe, and have for many years, that PWC cannot attract high dollar corporations, is because I we offer is “we are cheaper than Fairfax and Loudon”. Cheaper is not always the best seller in every circumstance. The biggest this dollar investment this county makes is roads. SO? THAT strategy hasn’t brought new commercial.

    Here are various messages that need to change. Our investment in schools, our continued idiocy of some in leadership of highlighting we don’t like “immigrants” and our inability to really sell the beauty of PWC that no one else even comes close to. From the rivers of the Potomac to the vistas of the Bull Run Mountain, in the 21st century we offer everything from high end office space on the East to farming our lands in the west. We ARE unique but lack luser leadership in PWC can’t figure out how to market that very simple concept.

  3. George S. Harris

    Moon asks, “Who does one even approach to ask for such services?”

    I’m not certain but I would suggest starting with your magisterial supervisor. It seems that all thing emanate from the BOCS.

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