This year brings lunar light shows, meteor showers and planet views over the North State, many of which are visible to the naked eye from our backyards.
North State science teachers and astronomy buffs describe their favorite dark sky events and where to watch them in the North State.
Some, like lunar (moon) events, are visible from everywhere skies are clear, Shasta County Office of Education science director Nate Fairchild said.
Probably the most anticipated is the total lunar eclipse in May.
“The path of totality (where the moon is in full shadow is) very close to Redding,” Shasta College earth sciences professor Randy Reed said. “Redding sees it reach totality, but Shingletown sees it as a partial eclipse.”
While most lunar events can be seen in Yreka, Redding and other highly-lit areas, meteor showers are best viewed away from city lights.
“You get more drama from a dark place and more beauty from an inspiring natural place,” Fairchild said.
Fairchild’s favorite North State spot to watch the night sky is Lassen Volcanic National Park, but any dark spot will do, he said.
In Shasta County, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is great place to get away from city light, Fairchild said. “Oak Bottom is easily accessible and is favored by the Shasta Astronomy Club.”
Safe pullovers in the mountains around Siskiyou County and in the foothills around Shasta County can be dark enough for good stargazing, but mountain peaks may block out parts of the night sky.
Before you go to a park or other site, check open hours and COVID-19 restrictions.
Here are some of the night sky events visible over the North State this year.