Have you ever seen a shooting star in a deep, dark clear sky? If the answer is no, or even if you have, right now is the perfect time to see a lifetime’s worth as the Perseid meteor shower continues to light up night skies into mid-August. Because of the lack of light pollution and dark sky, there are few places better to view the nightly light show than in Mariposa County and Yosemite National Park.
The Perseid meteor shower happens each year in late July and early August because of a phenomenon in which the Earth passes through the trail of the Swift-Tuttle Comet which leaves behind tiny bits of debris – sometimes as small as grains of sand – that enter the earth’s atmosphere. As the objects enter the atmosphere, they ignite and burnout in seconds leaving streaks of fire across the night sky.
This year, sky watchers can expect to see the best display in the early morning skies on Aug. 12, 13 and 14. To get the best view, you’ll need to get to areas in which light pollution is at a minimum which makes the dark skies of Mariposa County and Yosemite National Park an ideal destination to view nature’s firework show.
Stargazing in Mariposa County is a sight to behold as the Milky Way and thousands of stars in the sky can be viewed on a normal night by the naked eye. But already, the Perseids have been visible streaking across the sky like little balls of fire making it even more special than usual.
Taking in the Perseid meteor shower in Mariposa County can be as easy as hoping in your car, getting out on a back road and finding a safe place to pull off and layout on the hood of your vehicle to take in the show. Or make the experience unforgettable, by going up to Glacier Point or taking a night hike up to points of elevation to watch the celestial fireworks show above you as the falling meteors light up the granite domes you’re standing on.
For photographers, the Perseid meteor shower is also a great chance to capture some eye-catching photos of the night sky bedazzled with thousands of stars and with tiny balls of fire with beautiful red tails of light shooting across the photo.
No matter how you chose to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower, just make sure you don’t miss out on one of the late summer’s best show in the night sky.
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