Aug 11, 2023 - Things to Do

How to see the Perseid meteor shower in San Diego

Illustration of a magnifying glass pointed towards space, magnifying a meteor

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Head away from the coast and toward the mountains, valleys or the desert to catch the Perseid meteor shower that's peaking this weekend.

Why it matters: The annual event will be one of the best cosmic shows of the year, as the Earth passes through the stream of dust and rock debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Zoom in: San Diego County's certified International Dark Sky Places are the best spots to go star (or meteor) gazing, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs and Julian.

  • Astronomers say the best time to watch the Perseids is from midnight to sunrise, the Union-Tribune reported.
  • The Julian Starfest returns to Menghini Winery this weekend if you're looking for a free, family-friendly event before the big show. You can camp there, and the event includes telescope vendors, astronomy games and food and drinks for purchase.

Of note: It should be pretty dark during the peak, thanks to the moon being near its new phase.

  • "Well away from city lights, where you can see the Milky Way and a bunch of stars, you'll probably see somewhere between 40 and 50 Perseids per hour at the peak," NASA's Bill Cooke told Axios' Miriam Kramer.

The intrigue: Many of those meteors should be pretty bright as well, according to Cooke.

  • The Perseids are known for creating the most fireballs — exceptionally bright meteors — of any annual meteor shower.

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