Scientists Believe Thousands of Meteors Could Fly Over the Night Sky Tonight

Not since 1995 has an alpha Monocerotids meteor storm been seen over the night sky, but that could be the case tonight.

Meteor scientists Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens have predicted that an all-out meteor storm could occur tonight, marking a rare celestial event and what could be a fantastic show for onlookers. Although the even isn’t guaranteed, the scientists say there is “a good chance” the meteor storm could come tonight, with the last one seen in 1995 and producing 400 meteors an hour. The entire event could make thousands of meteors visible tonight.

The event is caused by a “the dust released by a long period comet” and has only happened 4 times in the past century – in 1925, 1935, 1985, and 1995. If it occurs, it would begin around 8 pm and peak around 8:50 pm.

The meteors are from Monoceros, the constellation located just left of Orion, and named after the Greek word for unicorn. While scientists still have a lot of questions surrounding the mysterious meteor shower, the scientists tasked with studying it believe they have correctly forecasted its next occurrence. And even if it doesn’t produce the “unicorn” flashing of thousands of meteors, people should still be able to see around 10 per hour.

“Unlike most meteor outbursts which last for several hours, strong activity from the alpha Monocertids is over within an hour and easily missed,” wrote the American Meteor Society.

It couldn’t come at a more perfect timing in Northern California, as the skies are forecast to be perfectly clear throughout the west coast. Here are the best places to watch the meteor show in NorCal:

Lassen Volcanic National Park

The best place to see this celestial event might be a nighttime hike to the top of Lassen Peak. But if you don’t have the energy to summit a mountain, there are still many options in the park to get a good view. Manzanita Lake and Lake Helen will surely provide some picturesque reflection photography opportunities. Also, a view of Brokeoff Mountain with shooting stars will certainly be breathtaking. No matter where you go in the park, Lassen is known as a great place to go stargazing.

The 8 Best Adventures in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lake Tahoe

Flickr/Jay Huang

If you can find a place around the lake to escape the city lights, there’s nothing like experiencing a starry night sky over Lake Tahoe. Maybe the best place to find the best night sky is the Desolation Wilderness, but anywhere in the higher altitudes above the lake will give you great views.

Mount Shasta

Flickr/Harold Litwiler

There are SO MANY places to see the meteor shower above Mount Shasta. As you ascend into the higher elevations, the show will certainly feel much bigger and brighter than in the valley. If you head up to Bunny Flats you should be able to see the stars bigger and brighter than anywhere in NorCal.

You’ll have a great view if you sit on the beach of Siskiyou Lake, watching the moon as it hovers above Mount Shasta with a reflection on the lake. Also, a nighttime hike to Heart Lake could be the To be quite honest, anywhere near Mount Shasta City seems like a winner in this scenario.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

We’ve documented the wonderful adventure of kayaking on Whiskeytown Lake during the full moon, and this occasion might prove to be an even better experience for a night on the water. You can always get on a boat (if you have access to one), grab a kayak or go to Brandy Creek. So many options here…

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Yosemite National Park

Although Yosemite can become packed with visitors during the summer, there is plenty of room to enjoy a night sky. The park still stays far away from city lights and can give you one heck of a show during the meteor shower.

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Starry nights in Yosemite 💫

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Burney Falls

Burney Falls

Take NorCal’s most beautiful landmark (and The Eighth Wonder of the World) and put a a meteor shower above it – enough said. Watch it from the rocks below the majestic waterfall or get an overhead view from the trailhead above. Either way this opportunity is too great to pass up.

The Eighth Wonder of the World Sits Right Here in Northern California

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