One of the best sky shows of the year is coming this weekend. With the moon in a new phase, the sky will remain exceptionally dark when between 70 and 150 meteors per hour may be seen, depending on one's viewing location.
If you're unable to stay up late on those days, try Saturday night. You may have a slightly better chance if you face northeast. The ice and dust, accumulating over a thousand years, burn up in our atmosphere to create the meteor shower. Half of watching a meteor shower is waiting around for them to appear. There's no need to look in any direction - the shooting stars should be visible in every part of the sky, weather permitting.
Just bear in mind you will not see as many shooting stars this early as you would during the peak.
Part of the reason the Perseids really sizzle in the summer sky in the northern hemisphere isn't the seasonal heat, but rather their speed, which can be almost 60 kilometers per second (134,000 miles per hour).
Unlike other celestial sightings that require a telescope or binoculars, the best way to watch a meteor shower is with the naked eye. Tracking such meteor clusters and gaps helps astronomers better understand the scattering of space debris released by comets such as Swift-Tuttle.
While the comet may only come back every 125 years, the actual debris field fills the entire loop of the orbit of the comet, he explained.
The comet whose tail creates the Perseus shower is called 109P/Swift-Tuttle, and is named after the US astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, who discovered it in 1862.
The basic idea behind the annual meteor shower begins with a comet - basically a large ball of frozen ice and rocks that travels around the sun.
-Escape from city lights and find a nice, dark spot, so you'll be able to see the fainter meteors, Cooke said. Fewer but longer-tailed meteors are commonly seen skipping across the Earth's atmosphere when looking toward the southern sky.