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The Perseids, Low Light, Night Magic, and You

It's time to find a more away-from-it-all place for this annual August sky show.

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    The Perseids, Low Light, Night Magic, and You
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    The deserts of California and Nevada are prime places to catch the Perseid Meteor Shower on the evening of Aug. 12, 2019. One plum spot? Borrego Springs. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    READING A BOOK, one that dealt with planets and stars and galaxies and the wonders of the universe, under your bed covers? A parent might have advised that you not pore over a word-filled tome while sitting in the shadows. So out you'd step, searching out a flashlight, if this was back before our phones so instantly supplied the illumination we required. But sometimes, when it comes to the cosmos, and galactic majesty, and space's speedy, look-fast marvels, we do crave a situation with less light. Not under our comforter, perhaps, the one at the bottom of our bunk, but rather in a location that's made the "low-lit lists" of nearby astronomy fans. And it so happens that California, which is home to several Dark Sky and Night Sky festivals in our national parks and beyond, also boasts some spots that stay so velvety that the Milky Way seems downright touchable.

    BORREGO SPRINGS... is such one such town, and it is a centerpoint for those astrofans who are eager to spend an August night watching the Perseid Meteor Shower. It is, in fact, an International Dark Sky Community, a designation it has proudly held for a decade. That means there are night sky tours, and excellent sky guides in the area, but if you'd like to sit outside of your hotel room, or Airstream, or camper, and keep watch on your own for those zoom-by streaks o' space rock splendor, you can. August 12 will be a prime night to admire the Perseids in 2019, but the 13th is predicted to be highly meteor-y, too. There is a (nearly) full moon this year, which means that your experience won't be quite as low-lit as you might like, but Perseids people won't ever miss this annual summertime show.

    WHERE TO STAY?Start here. Where to look? Up. Where to go during the day? The celebrated and over-sized sculptures of Galleta Meadows are a must-see.