Want to plan your own star party to view the Perseid meteor showers? Plan your star party with the aid of our Kern River Valley dark skies! One of the biggest, annual meteor showers occurs in mid-July through August and another occurs October through early-November. Read on for viewing tips, dark sky intel and camp site information for you and your group!
Viewing a meteor shower is most satisfying in a dark sky location, as far from urban light pollution as possible, such as in a rural Campground.
According to the experts at Griffith Observatory, the best way to watch a meteor shower is to travel to a wilderness area or campground that has a dark sky. It’s best to choose a night when the Moon is not visible during the shower. Most meteor showers are strongest after midnight and until dawn.
Pro Tip: Dress warmly and lie back on a deck or lounge chair, so that you are looking up at the sky. Don’t look at bright lights like flashlights or cell phone displays which can desensitize your eyes for ten minutes or more. See more meteor watching tips here.
Perseids | July 17 – August 24 Peak Nights: August 11, 12 and 13
Expected dark sky rate: 150 meteors per hour. The light of the nearly full moon, however, will reduce the numbers of visible meteors. Perseid meteors are produced by particles shed by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. They hit our atmosphere at 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second. Bright moonlight will affect viewing this year.
Meteor showers are usually named after a star or constellation that is close to where the meteors appear in the sky. Perseid meteors are produced by particles shed by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. They hit our atmosphere at 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second.
Star Party | August 12 Peak Viewing Time: 9:00-11:00pm You are Invited! Hosted by Kern River's Edge Campground in collaboration with the Kern River Valley Astronomy Club, join us on Saturday, August 12, 2023 between 9-11pm in our Bull Run Pavilion outdoor amphitheater for our very own star party. Bring your chair, headlamp, blanket and be prepared to be star-struck!
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Orionids | September 26 to November 22
Peak Time: Morning of October 22nd
Often featuring some of the brightest and fastest streaking stars, the Orionids appear in mid-October and reach their peak in the hours before dawn on October 22. This year, they occur alongside a first quarter crescent Moon, so after midnight observers should have dark skies!
The Orionid meteor shower is active from September 26 to November 22. The Orionids peak on the morning of the 22nd. The rate will be about 19 meteors per hour. Orionids are particles shed by comet 1P/Halley, and they hit our atmosphere at 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second. The meteors appear to stream from the area of the upraised club in the constellation Orion the Hunter.
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Recreating responsibly includes packing trash bags to leave our wild spaces cleaner than you found them. There is a glass ban in the Sequoia National Forest, so remember to use plastic storage containers, ziploc bags, or bota bags for camping gear and kitchen supplies instead.
Ready to go stargazing on the Kern River?
Then let’s go! At Kern River’s Edge, you’ll find spacious campsites, concierge firewood & ice deliveries, and the best viewing spots on the Kern River. With over 40 camping sites to choose from and easy access to all types of activities — including stargazing —, there’s something for everyone at the River’s Edge campsite.
Photo credit: Saul Parra
Our local Kern River Valley Astronomy Club hosts "Star Parties" each month.