The Perseids will peak this weekend between the 12th and 13th, when moonless nights will make for an especially dark sky. But living in the Northwest means that many local elements are potentially conspiring against our view, including overcast skies, a bright moon, and smoke from surrounding wildfires.
While a falling meteorite can be seen any night of the year, it's this weekend when the sky puts on a show as the Earth passes through the stream of the comet. It is time to prepare for the Perseid meteor shower.
While this weekend is the peak, Twarog predicts the showers will last through August 24. Dr. Bill Cooke with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office tells CBS News that this year, spectators will be in store for a better watching experience due to diminished moonlight -- or in his words: "We won't have any moon messing it up".
The meteors appear to shoot off of the constellation Perseus, which is how they get their name.
If you live in an urban area, you might want to take a drive to avoid city lights, which can make the meteor shower seem faint. It's recommended you find a dark sky in a rural area away from artificial lighting.
Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be? That's when the peak will start to build as Earth drifts through the most dense part of a cloud of cosmic debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes by our planet and the sun once every 133 years. The annual Perseid meteor shower will be peaking this Saturday and Sunday night.
Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. As always, it's best to get away from light pollution and head far away from city centers.
But the most spectacular long-lasting meteors, known as "Earthgrazers", can be seen when the radiant is still low above the horizon. You may have a slightly better chance if you face northeast.
Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, NASA said. If you're serious about your stargazing, allow ample time for this beforehand.
When is the best time to see the meteor shower?
As meteors enter the earth's atmosphere they leave streaks of light in the sky, which some people call shooting stars.