This weekend is peak for the most popular annual meteor shower among Earthlings.
The Perseid meteor shower is at its most dazzling on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
This year, light from the full moon will outshine faint fireballs, but the North State offers some excellent dark places to view brighter ones — visible as our planet passes through debris left from Comet Swift-Tuttle.
It will be another century before Swift-Tuttle nears Earth again — the comet orbits the sun every 133 years — but we can watch specks of dust left in its wake burn up as they hit Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.
You can glimpse these "falling stars" any night through Aug. 22. You might see a few later in the month, too, before Earth passes completely out of Swift-Tuttle's debris trail on Sept. 1.
Where to watch
The Perseids are visible at night in places away from light pollution with a good view of the northern sky.
Best places to watch include North State parks, but most parks close at dusk, so check hours before you go.
Where can you see the Perseids?: A visual guide to every meteor shower in 2022
Meteor watchers, astrophotographers and park staff offered their picks for places where people can get best views.
Lake Shasta north of Redding
The Pit River arm of Lake Shasta
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area near Redding and safe pulloffs along Highway 299 going west from the park
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park north of Cassel and Burney
Lake Siskiyou southwest of Mt. Shasta
Lake Shastina north of Weed, especially near the lake's western shores
Everitt Memorial Highway, which stretches from Mount Shasta to Red Butte. Check road conditions at https://bit.ly/3f3qWfv
Castle Lake area
Pulloffs near the Klamath National Forest are good places to escape light pollution from towns, but if you go, check for areas closed off during the McKinney and other fires at www.fs.usda.gov/klamath.
Lassen Volcanic National Park has some of the best unobstructed stargazing spots in the North State.
Choice spots are shores of Lake Helen and the Bumpass Hell parking lot
On the north side of the park from the Manzanita Lake shoreline, Butte Lake, the Chaos Jumbles pullout and the Devastated Area
For stargazing hikes, try Crags Lake Trail and areas around Cinder Cone
Bumpass Hell parking lot and pull-off spots along the park highway are the best places
What to bring, do before you go
Most North State temperatures are warm or hot during the day, but the wilderness can get chilly at night, especially at higher altitudes. Coldest times are usually just before dawn.
Bring a jacket or blanket if you plan to watch the meteors from high altitudes, and wear comfortable footwear or hiking boots.
Bring a compass or download a compass app to find Magnetic North. The Perseid meteor shower is concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere.
Some stargazers recommended people bring binoculars. These limit your field of vision, but they help you see a fireball in their visual range.
Here are important things to do before you go according to the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Transportation, the Park Service and other government agencies.
Charge your cell phone and other devices and make sure you take them with you.
Check for fire updates, road closures and conditions, hours and other information about the area you plan to visit.
Bring at least one strong flashlight with fresh batteries. If it's rechargeable make sure it's fully charged.
Caltrans recommends people fill their gas tanks, check the tire pressure and oil, etc. before a road trip.
Take additional precautions If you're going into a wilderness area, especially at night. Let someone who isn't joining your viewing party know where you're going and when you'll return. Call ahead to the ranger station in the area for more information about wilderness safety.
Pack water and snacks.
Learn more about the Perseids
Several features make the Perseids a no-miss compared to other annual meteor showers, NASA said:
The meteors are very fast and bright, and they leave long streaks of light and color as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.
They are plenty of meteors to watch: 50 to 100 meteors per hour of varying brightness during peak times and dates.
You can see many of the meteors with the naked eye. No binoculars are required. The brightest may even be visible in cities where ambient light washes out most night-sky objects.
Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.
This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Perseid meteor shower 2022: Where to watch in Northern California