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Look up! Watch the Perseid meteor showers at this star party

Look up! Watch the Perseid meteor showers at this star party
Photographers are able to snap shooting stars by using long exposures on their cameras, which creates a star trail effect. (Kim Myoung Sung / Wikimedia COmmons)

If you don't get what the Perseid meteor shower hoopla is all about, pack up your blanket and head for the Santa Monica Mountains on Wednesday night. A star party at the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve in West Hills will be your guide to shooting stars expected to whiz by at a rate of 100 per hour.

A long camera exposure of Perseid star trails Tuesday at Arnotegui Hermitage in Obanos in northern Spain. (Alvaro Barrientos / Associated Press)

The park, better known as the old Ahmanson Ranch, is a good place for viewing because it's away from city lights. The party starts at 10 p.m., and there will be a telescope for visitors who also want to see Saturn.

Five best places to watch the Perseid meteor showers

The Perseids occur every year at this time, but 2015 is expected to be spectacular because of the new moon (no moonlight to flood the sky). The meteor showers are expected to be at their peak between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, and only a cloudy night would ruin the light show.

The Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, by day. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Meet the party at the preserve's trail head at Victory Boulevard. (Traveling northeast, take the Valley Circle Boulevard exit off the 101 Freeway. Turn left on Victory Boulevard to the end; the parking lot is past the gate.)

The Perseid meteor showers and the Milky Way. (Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons)

If you miss out Wednesday, take heart: You can go to a summer stargazing evening at 8 p.m. Friday. The Perseids may not be so spectacular, but you'll learn about stars and constellations in the night sky.

Info: Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, (310) 858-7272, extension 131

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