San Tan Mountain park hike a great way to view Perseids meteor shower - East Valley Tribune: Outdoors

San Tan Mountain park hike a great way to view Perseids meteor shower

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Posted: Monday, August 6, 2012 11:00 am | Updated: 3:49 pm, Tue Aug 7, 2012.

If you haven’t had your fill of fireworks this summer, the universe is inviting you to its own light show, albeit one of a quieter variety.

The Perseids meteor shower is expected the night of Saturday, Aug. 11. The best way to see it is far away from city lights, and San Tan Mountain Regional Park is offering a safe, easy way to do just that. Ranger Adam Martell will lead a roughly 1.3-mile hike into the 10,000-acre preserve. Along the way, he’ll discuss stories and myths of the constellations, planets and stars. Immediately after, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., Martell will host a meteor shower viewing.

A meteor shower occurs when icy, dusty debris from a comet vaporizes in Earth’s upper atmosphere, igniting from the friction 30 to 80 miles above the ground. From here, the meteors will look like streaks of light falling from the constellation Perseus, in the northeastern sky.

Saturday’s thin crescent moon should give off minimal glow, making the falling stars easier to see in the inky sky.

A pair of binoculars or a camera with a telescopic lens might be fun thing to carry along, but they aren’t necessary. Folding chairs and blankets are welcome for the viewing party; the park advises bringing a flashlight and water to drink, and wearing proper hiking shoes, for the hiking portion of the evening. Visitors are welcome to do one or both activities; a single park entry fee covers both.

DETAILS >> 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. San Tan Mountain Regional Park, 6533 W. Phillips Road, Queen Creek. $6 per vehicle. (480) 655-5554 or Maricopa.gov/parks/santan.

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