Annually, between July 17 and August 24, the Perseid meteor shower puts on one of the brightest cosmic events of the year. Better still, viewing conditions this time around are particularly ideal - due to a new moon. But even if you can't step outside a couple hours before the sun comes up, it's worth checking the sky in the late evening and early morning. Here are the peak times to see the meteor shower in your area.
However the spectacular meteor shower also has biblical connotations. The Perseids takes place every year between July 17 and August 24. And even though there won't be as many shooting stars as in past years - in 2016, for example, there were as many as 200 visible meteors per hour - there will still be a boatload this weekend, with as many as 60 to 70 meteors per hour during its peak, Cooke told Space.com.
Meanwhile, the best place to view the Perseids meteor shower is in the Northern Hemisphere, so viewers in the United Kingdom and USA should be golden. "You'll want to look northeast". No special equipment is needed, just patience. The longer you're outside in the dark, the better your vision of the meteors will be. But the best time to watch the shower is in the pre-dawn hours of 3-5 a.m. when the moon has set and Perseus is high in the sky.
You can watch the livestream below.
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.More news: Drought afflicts entire New South Wales in Australia
A tent stands out against the starlit sky during the Perseid meteor shower on August 14, 2016 in Terlingua, Texas.
Perseids meteor shower 2018: What is it?
"Comets are spectacular and handsome and take months to go across the sky but every time they go near the sun they are melted down a little bit. During a meteor shower the Earth collides with that debris and very small pieces burn up in the upper atmosphere creating the show". 7×7 has a great writeup of the best places in the Bay Area for stargazingincluding Strawberry Hill in Golden Gate Park, Lands End in San Francisco, Mt. Hamilton in San Jose, the Chabot Space Center in the Berkeley Hills (which has free telescope stargazing events on most Fridays and Saturdays) and many others. Mars and Saturn will also be visible at different points.
When is the next meteor shower?
As meteors enter the earth's atmosphere they leave streaks of light in the sky, which some people call shooting stars.
And if your view is obscured by weather or clouds this weekend, the Perseids are visible for several nights afterward.