Supermoon Sunday and two kinds of Starry Nights in San Francisco
Science at NASA

The night skies of August 2014 are putting on a show. It's a special month for Bay Area stargazers of two kinds: amateur astronomers and those who shine a light on the fight against childhood cancer.

Perseid Meteor Shower

During the late nights of Aug. 10 through Aug. 12, 2014, get somewhere dark. You'll need three things: binoculars, a spot away from light pollution and cooperation from the fog and clouds.

The biggest meteor show of the year happens when two meteor showers merge over the skies of the Northern Hemisphere. The best viewing is after midnight. While the peak is expected on Aug. 12, you'll see better in the predawn hours prior to Aug. 10, when the full moon casts more light in the skies.

If you're new to Perseid meteor showers and require a cool fact or two to persuade a friend to drive off to a dark spot during the wee hours, here's a cheat sheet. Expect 50 to 100 meteors per hour when conditions are ideal. Of course, if you're in San Francisco, you'll need to disregard the expert comment that August 2014 Perseids occur during warmer weather which facilitates viewing.

This handy sunrise/sunset calendar can be customized for your location.

Supermoon Sunday

If your supermoon views on July 13 were ruined by clouds, here's another -- even better -- chance. The largest and brightest supermoon of the year occurs on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. And, accompanied by Perseid meteor showers, too. Moonrise is at 8:01 p.m. in the Bay Area, with more than four hours to go until the perigee at 99.5 percent illumination crosses the local meridian at 12:45 a.m.

According to NASA, the moon will be about 222,000 miles away, a smidgen closer than it was last month and closer than the next one, due on Sept. 9, 2014. At 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter, the perigee full moon's brightness does complete with the Perseids.

The good news is that Perseid viewing is active now and that fireball activity is up.

Starry Night San Francisco

Marveling at the Milky Way, we pause to look closer at the world we live in through another kind of event this August.

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the world's largest nonprofit source of funding for childhood brain tumor research, is launching an evening walk/run to help more than 28,000 kids battling a brain tumor. A portion of funds raised will support a family services program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Registration for the Aug. 23, 2014 free event opens at 4:30 p.m. for a 6 p.m. start at Justin Herman Plaza, Embarcadero, San Francisco. Starry Night San Francisco will also include a 50-yard dash for kids, entertainment, food and plenty of fun for the whole family.

Each of the 28,000 steps in Starry Night’s 8.5K walk/run will shine a symbolic light on the illness and raise funds for lifesaving medical research and life-changing family support programs.

At the conclusion, participants will light the nighttime sky with thousands of lanterns to symbolize hope for a cure.