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Clouds could obscure viewing of meteor shower in Southern California

California star gazers should head east for the possible meteor shower tonight

Low-hanging clouds may block plans by Southern California stargazers who want to watch a meteor shower expected to begin late Friday night.

Trekking east, particularly to the mountains, may allow a better view of the possible celestial show, said Carol Smith, meteorologist for the National Weather Service

The shower could produce up to 200 meteors per hour.

Then again, maybe not. 

Dubbed May Camelopardalids (Camel-Oh-par-dalids), the stream of debris was left in the wake of a comet -- named 209P/LINEAR -- hundreds of years ago and should be visible across North America.

However, astronomers are unsure of how much dust has been left by the periodic comet because its orbit has usually been taken out by Jupiter's gravity. 

As for the possible meteor shower, Smith said low-hanging clouds will blanket the Los Angeles Basin and most of Southern California from around 11 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday. The meteor shower's peak viewing times could stretch from midnight Friday to dawn Saturday. 

"There will be a pretty decent inland push of marine clouds ... from the stratus coming in off the ocean," Smith said. "The clouds will start going across the valleys first, San Gabriel and then San Fernando." 

Those looking to head up to Griffith Observatory to see the show may want to skip the lawn.

Observatory spokeswoman Bonnie Winings also urged interested parties to head east, suggesting Joshua Tree National State Park. 


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