Get some blankets, find a dark hill on a dark night, make sure you’ve napped, and put away that smartphone. The California Academy of Sciences has some excellent tips for seeing shooting stars, more accurately known as meteors: How to Observe a Meteor Shower.

Some more info from Sky and Telescope:

The particles hitting our atmosphere are not large — typically they’re no bigger than big sand grains, and something the size of a pea can create a meteor that’s dramatically bright. That’s because they strike at 20 to 45 miles per second, and all that kinetic energy is rapidly dissipated by frictional heat. In fact, we see a meteor’s streak not because the particle is “burning up,” but instead because air molecules along its path become flash-heated to thousands of degrees.

Both The American Meteor Society and EarthSky.org have meteor shower guides for 2015. Spring means that it’s “Fireball Season”: Bright meteors increase by as much as 30% for a few weeks around the 2015 March equinox (March 20).

Check out more Cal Academy videos or watch related videos on this site: They Might Be Giants’ What is a shooting star? and Inside the Meteorite Clean Room at the Smithsonian.

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