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Perseid meteor shower: The sky's the limit

August 14, 2010 |  4:45 pm

Perseid meteor shower

The brilliant streaks of light above Mt. Pinos in Los Padres National Forest late Thursday elicited "oohs" and "aahs" and applause from the audience of stargazers.

The prediction that the Perseid meteor shower — August's annual show of shooting stars — would peak Thursday night and into early Friday lured about 200 people to Mt. Pinos, one of Southern California's more celebrated arenas for social stargazing and amateur astronomy.

While casual viewers stretched out on reclining chairs and stared skyward, more serious hobbyists organized a star party in the middle of a large conifer-lined parking lot, two miles east of the summit. Taking hours to set up what one onlooker described as "mortgage grade" telescopes, this group was well-prepared for the summer's most impressive celestial phenomenon.

Robert Provin, 62, of Bakersfield has been going to Mt. Pinos for 48 years. Mike Hatcher, 59, has been going since he was 17. For nearly half a century the two have known each other as friends and former members of the Polaris Observatory Assn., "but the only time we see each other is at the Pinos parking lot," Provin said.

Read the full story here.

-- Colin Stutz

Photo: Ideal conditions on Mt. Pinos block light pollution from below, offering a couple a view of the Perseids, the annual meteor shower in August. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times