Attention Long Beach stargazers: One of the biggest and brightest meteor showers of the year, known as the Perseid meteor shower, has begun and is expected to peak this weekend.
But first, what the heck is a “Perseid?” These meteors are actually tiny pieces of space debris and they originate from comet 109/Swift-Tuttle, according to NASA.
As the debris streaks across the atmosphere, long “wakes” of light and color can be seen. Once a year when the sumertime shower arrives, about 50 to 100 meteors can be seen per hour—that’s why it’s considered to be the most spectacular shower of the year.
How to view the meteor shower
This meteor shower is visible throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere (that’s you, Long Beach). As long as the weather is clear, the shower will be easiest to see during its peak, which will begin around 10 p.m. Saturday and last until dawn on Sunday, according to NASA.
The astronomical event will be extremely visible in places where there is less light pollution or at dark sky destinations like Joshua Tree, so it’s a great weekend to go camping if you’re up for an adventure. Nearby areas like Mt. Wilson, the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu will also be ideal nearby destinations to watch the show.
But you can still see the show in Long Beach. Just find somewhere comfortable to lie down and watch the show, like your backyard, the beach or maybe at one of the city’s many parks. Just be sure to let your eyes focus on the sky and adjust to the atmosphere. Remember, also, to avoid looking at your phone and fix your gaze upward for at least 30 minutes so that the quick streaks of light can come into focus.