Each August, the Swift-Tuttle comet lights up the nighttime sky, displaying a beautiful light show for all us Earthlings. How? When pieces of the comet hurl into our atmosphere at 132,000 MPH, they create streaks in the sky in what is known as the Perseid meteor shower.
Usually, the Perseids provides about 60 to 100 meteors an hour. This is no normal year. NASA predicts the Perseids will offer twice as many meteors on the night of August 11-12.
What’s the best way to watch? According to Space.com:
If you have clear skies and live in the Northern Hemisphere, head out to watch the show between midnight and dawn local time on Aug. 12 and 13 (that is, the nights of Aug. 11 and 12). Go to a dark area, and wait for 30 to 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust. Your bare eyes are all you need in order to see the meteors.
If you’re in a light-polluted area (typically in or near urban areas) or clouds get in the way, you can also tune in to the Perseids on Ustream. The broadcast will run overnight on Aug. 11 and 12, starting at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on Aug. 12 and 13)
Did you know? The Perseids are named after the Perseus constellation, from which the meteors appear to radiate.