The Perseids -- and other meteor showers, for that matter -- occur when the Earth passes through the orbit of a comet that's shucking pieces of ice, dust and grime and intercepts small pieces of this debris.
On August 12 the Cedar Breaks' park staff, along with astronomy volunteers, will host an evening of “shooting star” viewing. During the Perseids, it's expected that you’ll be able to view 30 to 40 “shooting stars” per hour, according to park staff.
The viewing will begin at 10 p.m. at the Point Supreme overlook, near the Visitor’s Center. If you plan to attend, it's suggested you bring a lounge-type folding chair, weather-appropriate clothing, and perhaps a Thermos with a hot beverage so you can take in the show in comfort. Before the meteor shower peaks at around midnight, you’ll be treated to a laser tour of the night sky complete with telescope viewing of many deep-sky wonders, a park release promises.
At an elevation of 10,000 feet, with minimal city light interference and generally clear night skies, Cedar Breaks is a premier location for night sky viewing. In addition to the Perseids Party, Cedar Breaks is expanding its regular Star Party dates to include August, 9th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 29th, and 21st.
The Star Parties begin at 9:30 p.m. with a presentation at the Cedar Breaks Visitor Center. Weather permitting, the presentation will be followed by guided viewing of the night sky. The park will have several large telescopes available until 11:00 p.m. during these affairs. Visitors are also welcome to bring along their own telescopes.
If you plan to attend any of these star shows, keep in mind that you'll be near 10,000 feet in elevation. And at that elevation, nighttime temperatures at Cedar Breaks can be in the mid- to upper-30s.
Flashlights, covered with red cellophane, are a good idea to assist you in finding your way to and from your car, but visitors are asked to leave flashlights turned off at the observation site.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is located 23 miles east of Cedar City, Utah, via Highways 14 and 148. Updated events and activities, program offerings, and other park information are available by calling the Cedar Breaks Visitor Center at, 435-586-0787 ext. 4031 or, the Monument’s administrative office at, 435-586-9451.