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It's Perseid Meteor Shower Time, LA. Here Are Pro Tips For Catching The Light Show

The Perseid meteor shower captured on morning of Aug. 14, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Sullivan via Flickr Creative Commons)
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Every August, Earth passes through the debris field left by a commuting comet, creating a dazzling display up in the night sky. And the light show is hitting its crescendo Monday and Tuesday, and early birds will get the best views.

The Perseid meteor shower will be most visible in the early morning hours before dawn, according to NASA officials (3 a.m. is a good time, and you should be able to see them until the sun rises at about 6:10 a.m.).

The meteors, a.k.a. shooting stars you see as streaks of light in the night sky occur when particles from the Swift-Tuttle comet enter Earth's atmosphere at about 37 miles per second and disintegrate.

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If you're hoping to catch the atmospheric spectacle, here are a few tips:

  • Get as far away from urban lights and pollution as possible. Skip Griffith Observatory. A clear view of the night sky is key.
  • Don't bother with a telescope or binoculars. "Using either reduces the amount of sky you can see at one time, lowering the odds that you'll see anything but darkness," NASA officials wrote in a meteor shower guide.
  • Look for the darkest spot in the sky, but be sure to let your eyes "hang loose," the space experts say. Once you settle in and let your eyes adjust, you should see about one meteor per minute.
  • And don't expect to capture a decent photo with your iPhone. You might have better luck with a DSLR, though.

Here are a few places you can go to catch a better view:

  • Mt. Baldy
  • Angeles National Forest
  • Vasquez Rocks off the Route 14 near Santa Clarita
  • Angeles Crest Highway
  • Amboy Crater in San Bernardino County
  • Borrego Springs
  • The Mojave National Preserve's southern half

Enjoy the show!