This, that and the nature thing

Take a hike

Nearly four months after a wildfire burned more than 800 acres in Griffith Park, three hiking trails in our lovely urban wilderness are open again, KABC reports.

The popular trail was closed for three months because of the damage caused by a wildfire. Monday morning, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilmember Tom LaBonge, hiked the 2.5 mile trail officially reopening it to the public.

"Thanks to the valiant efforts of our firefighters we were able to stave off a tragedy and now we are in the process of restoring this park," says Mayor Villaraigosa.

Good to see the mayor break a sweat about something other than his very public private life.

Red moon on the rise

A full moon and a total lunar eclipse? That's what's in store for insomniacs and night owls tonight, Dana Bartholomew writes in the Daily News.

This year's second total lunar eclipse will be visible in North and South America. But the best view will be in the West, where it will be viewable from about 1:30-5:30 a.m.

During the 3 1/2-hour eclipse, the Earth will pass between the sun and moon, causing the orb to turn from pale yellow to reddish black, depending on the atmosphere.

"We have front-row seats," said Lance Lucero, technical manager for Celestron telescopes in Los Angeles. "We have a fantastic view. We get to see the whole thing.

If anyone actually stays up and shoots a nice photo, e-mail it to me (veronique at laobserved) and I'll post it tomorrow.

Starry, starry night

Come the weekend, Comet Kiess could scatter hundreds of meteors in a shower that peaks on Saturday at 4:33 a.m. Gary Robbins at the OC Reg has details. (Scroll a bit to get to the meteors.)

...Kiess is a "mysterious long-period comet that has visited the inner solar system only twice in the past two thousand years. In 83 BC, give or take a few centuries, Kiess swung by the sun and laid down a trail of dusty debris that has been drifting toward Earth's orbit ever since. On Sept. 1, 2007, the dusty trail and Earth will meet."

At least, that's the hope.

NASA's Bill Cooke adds in the advisory, "We have little experience with ancient debris from long-period comets. Almost anything could happen from a fizzle to a beautiful meteor shower."

More on the mysterioso Comet Kiess at "Sky and Telescope".

Bonsoir et bonne chance

That's all for me today. Happy sky-gazing.

More by Veronique de Turenne:
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