THE SOLAR ECLIPSE... that's coming up on Monday, Aug. 21? One hardly wants to say that the major event is pulling focus from other cosmic-cool events, for those who love to watch the sky have room enough in their heart to handle several spectacles at once. But the headlines are understandably full of where to go to see the total eclipse — on the West Coast, that's around the Pacific Northwest, along a specific pathway — and how to make the pinhole cameras needed to enjoy even a partial peek at the sun-tastic happening. Let us not forget, though, that this stretch of summertime is also about the Perseid Meteor Shower, and... wait. No one is forgetting that, and, in fact, meteor mavens'll be out in the wilderness-rich areas of California, just over a week ahead of the solar eclipse, to catch some streak-by Perseid action. The peak of the show is expected to be Saturday, Aug. 12, perhaps in the hours head of sunrise, but count on a lot of committed observers to stick it out for much of the night and weekend.
BUT WHERE TO GO? We happen to live in the same state as an International Dark Sky Community — that's beautiful Borrego Springs, which calls Anza-Borrego Desert State Park a neighbor — and the weekend that the Perseid show is set to peak coincides with the 2017 Dark Sky Festival at Lassen Volcanic National Park. That's on from Friday, Aug. 11 through Sunday, Aug. 13, and "(n)ightly constellation tours and stargazing" are on the wonder-filled schedule. As for spectacular Death Valley National Park? No surprise here (and only delight): It's a Gold-Tier Dark Sky National Park, and The Ranch at Death Valley stays open for guests throughout the famous Death Valley summer. The solar eclipse? That's soon, but even sooner? Some peak-perfect Perseid action, a sight that's enjoyed from some of our state's lowest-of-light locations.