On the night of August 11 and into the early morning of August 12, the Swift-Tuttle comet will put on an extraordinary show. When the Earth plows into the comets’ wake, tiny sand and pea-size bits of debris hit our atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour, streaking across the sky in what we call the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The yearly occasion is the perfect opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts to find a rural area and go stargazing. The event is expected to bring a show for people who stay up late to view the night sky, with the opportunity to see up to 20 meteors over an hour span. Unfortunately, this year’s event will coincide with a bright full moon, which will dampen the show a little bit.
“This shower is routinely one of the best and most popular meteor showers of the year and is known for very bright and long-lasting meteors,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.
To get the best possible viewing of this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower, Space.com recommends staying up to the early morning of August 12th and getting to your destination 30 minutes ahead of time for your eyes to acclimate to the darkness. It’s also important to be in a dark area, without light pollution. Here are our favorite places to see the event in Northern California:
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.
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.
There are SO MANY places to see the meteor shower above Mount Shasta.As you ascend into the higher elevations, Perseid 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. Another option would be to hike up to the top of Shasta Bally to have an overhead view of the super moon floating over the lake. So many options here…
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.
Take NorCal’s most beautiful landmark (and The Eighth Wonder of the World) and put 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.
Where do you plan to watch this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower?