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News

Big Meteor Shower Tonight, Where to Watch?

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The annual Perseid meteor showers has been around since July, but tonight and early tomorrow morning is its expected peak for visual gratification. Los Angeles' light pollution and the moon will distract somewhat, but there are some solutions if you can't travel afar to the likes of Joshua Tree or the Channel Islands.The LA Times says "just try to find a place that’s not too light-polluted. Then, lie on your back and watch the show unfold." Anthony Cook, the Astronomical Observer at the Griffith Park Observatory seems to have this routine down:

The best way to watch the shower is to recline comfortably on a chaise lounge with your gaze centered about 2/3 the way up from the horizon to overhead. Meteors will appear everywhere in the sky, but are most concentrated in the northeast. Because the moon is in the east and is nearly overhead at dawn, the best plan this year is to face north, and put the moon behind a tree, or shade your face from its light with an open car hood or stand with a piece of cardboard taped to it that can be moved to block the moon as it moves through the sky. You may also notice a few meteors coming from the west and southwest. These are from the smaller Cygnid and Aquarid meteor showers. To reiterate, the night to watch is Tuesday night, August 11, and the best time starts at midnight and runs until the dawn of Wednesday morning, August 12.

Cook also says those who wait 'til 2 a.m. could be in for some good viewing. The Times notes a more practical time of between 9 and 11 p.m. tonight. We are partial to Castaic lake in the Santa Clarita Valley for a short trip out of Los Angeles to stargaze. Where do you go?