The annual Perseid meteor shower is one of the most famous meteor showers of the year.
The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes through the trail of dust left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit of the sun every 133 years. However, they can be seen clearest after sunset.
The showers are named after the constellation Perseus because the direction from which they come in the sky lies in the same radiant as Perseus. At peak time under good conditions, you can expect to see 60 to 70 meteors per hour. In the evening, starting around 10 p.m., you'll see fewer meteors, but those that do appear will be longer-lasting and tend to have longer tails. Three years later, an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaperelli identified the comet as the origin of the Perseid meteor shower.
Depending on when you decide to watch, you'll have a chance to see something different.
If you're interested in the best possible views of the show should set up shop somewhere dark-with no light pollution or large buildings-where much of the sky is visible.
To make the best of the meteors, observers should avoid built-up areas and try to find an unobstructed view to the east. "Comets and asteroids leave tiny bits of themselves in the orbital path that they take around the sun".
The meteor shower will grow more spectacular through the weekend with top performance between midnight and dawn Sunday and Monday.
Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be?
According to Jolene Creighton at Quarks to Quasars, the meteors you'll be able to see during the meteor shower's peak each hour will be blasting into Earth's atmosphere at speeds of around 209,000 kilometres per hour (130,000 miles per hour).