Come watch the stars fall

The Geminid meteor shower reaches its peak about 2am (Pacific Time) this Saturday morning. That’s also moonset, Pacific time. The show won’t be spectacular — one or two per minute — but there should be some slow meteors and fireballs.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, the best place to watch is probably on either side of the Tejon Pass. Frazier Park is good, but it’s both high up (which means cold this time of year) and crowded enough so that headlights are a problem. My personal favorite is a spot near Gorman, which is just on the Los Angeles side of the pass.

Even if the meteor show is a bust, the general stargazing from there is a treat if you live in a city, and Orion will be high in the sky at that hour.

Any insomniac or stargazer in LA who wants to join a small expedition should email me at kleiman@ucla.edu. Leave about 2, get there just before 3, watch for an hour or two, get breakfast at a truckstop, go home and sleep.

“Stars, I have seen them fall,

but when they drop and die,

no star is lost at all

from all the star-strewn sky.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com