Bits and pieces of a comet called the Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 are blazing their way through the solar system and headed for San Francisco just in time for Memorial Day.
At around 10 pm on Monday, NASA predicts that over 70 fragments of the comet may be visible to the naked eye.
Much of San Francisco’s light-polluted cityscape lends little to the cosmic curiosities of its residents: lights from the city’s dense buildings can make viewing cosmic patterns difficult. But there are a number of places around town where you can spot Monday’s never-before-seen phenomenon—if it occurs.
It’s bound to be an “all or nothing” event depending on the speed at which debris broke off from the original comet, according to NASA spokesperson Bill Cooke.
The Standard broke down the best places to watch the galactic occurrence.
As the name confers, Land’s End may be the city’s most remote location. Even without a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower, the endless oceanic views from the Land’s End cliffside can leave you feeling like a speck in the universe.
Golden Gate Park
Always a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Golden Gate Park is especially great for stargazing because of its location between the relatively sleepy Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods. Head to Strawberry Hill, the park’s highest point, to get closest to the action.
Known for its expensive estates and its golf course but not so much for its astronomers. The Presidio’s Crissy Field and Baker Beach are isolated from the rest of the city and can provide a good view of the sky on a clear night.
Twin Peaks and Corona Heights
San Francisco’s quintessential viewing porches offer panoramic views of the city but are a risky bet for Monday’s meteor shower due to light pollution.
Just over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands, you can grab a view of the city and the meteor shower—if it happens.
One of the best and lesser-well-known views of the city, Forbes Bench in Marin County allows you to see above the fog rolling into the bay. It’s about an hour and a half drive north, but worth every minute if you’re able to catch the meteor shower from this spot.
David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected]