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

QUEEN CREEK, AZ - 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, August 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. A ranger at the 10,000-acre preserve will lead a roughly 1.3-mile hike into the dark and wild desert to view the shower. Along the way, he'll discuss stories and myths of the constellations, planets and stars.

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. The park advises bringing a flashlight and water to drink, and wear proper hiking shoes and clothing.

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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