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moon.stargazing

Observing the NIghts Sky

California Meteor Showers
Good Areas to Stargaze in California
Full Moons
No Moon
Eclipses from California

California Amateur Astronomy Groups/Clubs

Observatories: Telescope Tours & Shows

Viewing Lunar & Solar Eclipses - from California

Shooting star shows

Meteor Showers

I saw a bunch of shooting stars, Is there a meteor showers going on right now? When's the best time to see stars this season? What weekend should I go camping? Now you can plan your outdoor excursions around the nights sky's shows. Most meteor showers from North America can be seen in the later part of the year. The Perseid Shower is usually is the most noted summertime display. Leonid & Geminid Showers also are good shows. Check out the charts below for best viewing & perfect timing.

Meteor Showers - Best Viewing Tips

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Know where you're going, as well as why your going!

shooting stars

Meteor Showers - Viewing from California

Shower Peak
Quadrantid Meteor Shower early January
Lyrid Meteor Shower mid April
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower early May
Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower late July
Perseids Meteor Shower mid August
Orionid Meteor Shower mid October
Leonid Meteor Shower mid November
Geminid Meteor Shower mid December

WILL PAY FOR METEORITES

A rural Montana couple says it's willing to pay up to $10,000 for actual meteorites. Marlin Cilz and his wife Debbie own a company called the Montana Meteorite Laboratory in Malta, Montana. They tell the Great Falls Tribune that they will pay up to the ten grand price at a payout of $10 per pound.

Mr. Cilz has been collecting meteorites since childhood. He cuts, polishes and etches the rocks and then sells them to universities and other collectors around the world. Cilz notes that even though meteorites are small, when the enter they atmosphere they come crashing in with a sound that resembles a freight train.

He tells would-be meteorite hunters that most of the space visitors are dark and smooth and can be attracted to most magnets. They are usually rust-colored brown or black and some have shallow depressions in them as if caused by a human thumb ... were the material actually soft at one time. Cilz says that too many people have come in contact with meteorites and think they are just plain rocks. Many farmers, clearing their fields, have stacked them into piles as "discards." He says that the largest one he has purchased weighed 400 pounds.

Montana Meteorite Lab can be reached at 406-654-2192.

Good Areas to Watch the Skies

Choose an area at least 40 miles from a major metropolitan city. Even sprawling suburbia street lights can be over powering. Gotta get away from the light polution.

Pick a secondary road off a local mountain highway. Pulling off the main drag just a quarter of a mile will help cut down on car headlights and the noise from passing traffic. Pick a level spot to park on the side, preferable in a wide section of the road. Next to a meadow or clearing is your best bet.

Open skies with very little trees around is preferred. Higher elevations (5000' +) will be colder temperatures at night ...where mid elevations (3000'+) should be perfect with countryside oak terrain & minimal tree coverage. Most of the California reservoirs are perfect areas for such night sky watching. Plus the deserts make perfect spots in the winter months... when the viewing is prime.

Make a night of it!! Be sure that you bring your binoculars, tripod, telescope, tarp.
And some additional comfort items: music, picnic food & beverages, sleeping bags, blankets, chairs.& hell, may as well throw in that inflatable mattress (for sheer luxury).

perfect spots:


Picnic dinner or Sunset appetizers


Pine Creek Rd. in San Diego County

Full Moons

When the moon is close to full, it's a great time for night hikes or mountain biking around desert roads at night. The bright reflection makes it difficult for star gazing, but it is perfect for checking out the moons surface with a telescope.

Get moon phases for your desired timeframe http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/vphase.html


CURRENT MOON


Photo Credit © Jan Alexander

No Moons / New Moon

When there is no moon visible in the dark sky it is considered a new moon. This is the best time to see the stars because of the lack of moonlight in the nights sky. Just like the full moon, there is one new moon per month, approx. 15 days from the full moon date.

Sierra StarGazing

Great Spots for StarGazing:


Viewing Lunar & Solar Eclipses - from California



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