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Lights! Humidity!

Alas, the bane of Chesapeake summers for backyard astronomers - high humidity - spoiled the Perseid meteor shower over night. Clouds were mostly absent. But the warm, muggy night meant plenty of moisture in the air to reflect urban lights. And that made our skies mostly opaque.

That's not to say nothing happened. Here's a gallery of photos from this morning's sky show from around the planet. The general concensus seems to be that this was a mild display as the Perseids go.

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I had a look just before 4 a.m. from my place in Cockeysville. While I could just make out Mars in the murk, mostly the sky was a flat, milky white, and glowing brightly in the direction of Baltimore to my south. So, I jumped back in bed.

If you ventured farther out into the countryside, you may have been able to see more. If so, post a comment here and describe what you saw. Also, for future reference, here are several dark-sky spots in the region that are ideal places, beyond most of the urban glow, to watch meteor showers and other celestial events.

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Amateur astronomers like Tuckahoe State Park, off Rte. 404 at the Queen Anne's - Caroline County line on the Eastern Shore. I often drive up I-83 into northern Baltimore County. Howard County amateur astronomers like Carrs Mill Park, off Frederick Road near Lisbon.

If you can stay overnight, though, the darkest places in our (and I use the word in its broadest sense) region are in north-central Pennsylvania and east-central West Virginia.

In Pennsylvania, try Cherry Springs State Forest, about 50 miles north of State College, southwest of Galeton.

In wild and wonderful West Virginia, dark-sky nirvana is on Spruce Knob, southwest of Seneca Rocks, which is east of Elkton.

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