The annual Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak tonight.
The meteor shower is witnessed at the same time every year as Earth passes through the orbit of a comet called Swift Tuttle. As pieces of debris from that comet scatter the sky, onlookers witness the free astronomical show.
The event begins in the last week of July or first week of August and peaks on Sunday night, August 11 and Monday morning, August 12.
Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office tells ABC News the best time to view the Perseid meteor shower:
“It’s not one of those things where you can go out for 30 minutes after sunset.”
Cooke explains that no binoculars are necessary to view the Perseid Meteor shower. Viewers just need clear skies in a dark area away from city lights.
At the peak of the shower, upwards of 60 shooting stars can be viewed per hour.
The shower can be viewed anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere as weather permits. AccuWeather suggests that the best viewing spots this year will be in the Northwest. The shower should also be helped this year by a dim crescent moon.
If you choose to view the Perseid Meteor shower tonight, you should look towards the northeastern sky; however, the shooting stars will be viewable by simply laying on your back and looking up.
Seasoned Perseid Meteor shower viewers remind newbies to avoid looking at the moon, which can cause your eyes to lose their nighttime focus.
If you want to take photos, you’ll need a fairly powerful camera with an ISO between 400 to 1600, and it will need to be placed on a tripod.
Will you be watching the Perseid Meteor shower as it reaches its peak tonight?