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Travel

Best Places For Stargazing Near OC

August 10, 2013 6:00 AM

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(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)


When it comes to stargazing, the Perseid massive meteor shower produces a spectacular show. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower’s intensity typically occurs from Aug. 10 to 13. In the world of Disney, when you wish upon a star, it can make a scientific difference where you are, so it’s important to find the right viewing points in witnessing the spectacle of this meteor show. Here are the five best areas around Orange County for gazing at the stars.

(credit: BORYANA KATSAROVA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: BORYANA KATSAROVA/AFP/Getty Images)

University of California, Irvine Observatory

The Field Near University Hills Community Center
1083 California Ave.
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 824-8111
www.physics.uci.edu

A special, informal visitor night is open to the public on Sunday, Aug. 11 from 8 to 11. p.m. for seeing the Perseid meteor shower. This is a great location for viewing the meteors in a group setting and from a dark site without light pollution. At around 8:20 p.m., graduate student Andrew Graus provides a short lecture. It should be noted that there’s no parking right at the University Hills Community Center, which is the closest building to the field, so you can go online for specific parking information and more. You can bring flashlights and telescopes. In addition, there are two telescopes providing a glimpse of Saturn as well as a look at star clusters that are sure to bring excitement to the stargazing public as well.

(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Oak Canyon Nature Center

6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road
Anaheim, CA 92807
(714) 998-8380
www.anaheim.net

This 58-acre nature park has an excellent reputation on a number of levels. A beautiful core of Anaheim Hills, it’s conveniently located near the Anaheim Hills Golf Course. Most importantly, with less city light pollution, the opportunity to actually be able to see the sky and the light of the stars is praised by many lovers of this nature area. Of course, it’s important to consider safety and rules in this natural location. There are several regular staff-led evening programs such as Nature Nights, Discover Nature Saturdays and the fittingly titled “Cinema Under the Stars.”

Related: Get The Movie Star Treatment In OC

(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

Griffith Observatory

2800 E. Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800
www.griffithobs.org

The deep impact of Griffith Observatory as California’s iconic viewing center is beyond the realm of this planet. When there are clear skies and the observatory is open, it’s more than worth a short drive. Free telescopes are available to the public until around 10 p.m. Live and archived streams can be viewed online too, which is a remarkable resource to have at one’s fingertips. Expert telescope demonstrators are present in this physical space of vintage historical importance as it brings a view into worlds that transcend space and time.

(credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

(credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Palomar Observatory

California Institute of Technology, Department of Astronomy
35899 Canfield Road
Palomar Mountain, CA 92060
(760) 742-2119
www.astro.caltech.edu

The visitor’s center at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, with its eye-opening resources, is typically open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. While the Palomar Observatory is certainly well known for its legendary Hale Telescope, which held the distinction of being the largest telescope for a six-consecutive-decade span, there are more galaxies of learning and viewing opportunities in the visitor center space. This includes kiosk spaces with touch-screen computers. These exhibits allow you to travel the solar system and view Palomar’s remarkable images as you travel across the universe, being the star of your own light-speed viewing voyage.

(credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

33401 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 923-2210
www.ocparks.com

In the wild wilderness of the West, there are limitless galaxies of OC stargazing opportunities at Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park. Camping is available year round. A strong example of stargazing joy at this beautiful park is the “Campfire Program Star Party.” Special astronomy events at this 8,000-acre park are typically free. Here, double stars, star clusters, nebulae, Saturn and potentially much more are all part of the astronomical scenery for those who are interested in remarkable events such as the Perseid meteor showers.

Related: The Best Fall Family Getaways In Orange County

Will Engel is a musician and music journalist with eight years of experience. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Will is a singer, keyboardist/pianist, and songwriter who released a well-received album and frequently performs around Southern California. He lives in the Los Angeles area. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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