Ohh, Ahh: Perseid Showers on Approach

Make for the desert, mountains, or a low-lit spot to watch the August sky show.

STARRY ANNUAL EVENTS, even those that come back around on a predictable and even somewhat punctual basis, can sometimes catch us by surprise. We know that the Harvest Moon is due, or that Venus will be especially bright, or there's a partial eclipse we should really step outside to admire. And yet we didn't plan that jaunt to a more remote location, the kind without street lamps or too much illumination (the better to see what's going on above our heads). So here's a reminder that summer is about to deliver one of its most cosmic delights, the Perseid Meteor Shower, which has a wonderful way of showing up again just before the middle of August. Thank the...

COMET SWIFT-TUTTLE, and its notable tail, for giving us this show each summer when our planet passes on through. We're making that pass-through again, but if you're looking for peak Perseids action, look to Aug. 13, which falls on a Saturday in 2016. Could you do a jaunt to Big Bear, or Lassen Volcanic National Park, or Borrego Springs, which is an official International Dark Sky Community, to admire the once-a-year spectacle? Some do catch some of the awesomeness from some of the brightest spots in California, but turn to Death Valley, or Pinnacles National Park, or another low-lit destination for a (fingers crossed) wowzier show. For more info on the Borrego Springs dark sky efforts, start on the Borrego Dark Sky Coalition page. Wherever you happen to be, though, over the second weekend of August, look up, after dark, and see if you don't see a shooting star, or several dozen, courtesy of one of the calendar's most cosmic displays.

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