The Perseid Meteor Shower -- often one of the year's best meteor showers -- arrives this month as Earth makes its annual pass through the debris left by the Swift-Tutle Comet.
The shower will peak August 12 at 1 pm. Since you can't see the fireballs during the day, the night before and after the peak are good viewing opportunities. The display often rains down 80-90 meteors per hour, making it one of the most active meteor showers you can see. (In an outburst year, like 2016, the Perseids can display an amazing 150-200 meteors an hour.)
Unfortunately, the moon will be three-quarters full at the peak. "Rates will be about half what they would be normally, because of the bright moonlight," NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. "Instead of 80 to 100, [there will be] 40 to 50 per hour. And that's just because the moon's going to wash out the fainter ones. ... The good news is that the Perseids are rich in fireballs; otherwise the moon would really mess with them."
To get the best celestial experience, viewers should head out of town to an area free from the city's bright lights. Cooke recommends sitting outside a few hours since it can take a while to adjust to the darkness. It can be viewed across the northern hemisphere, and NASA suggests the best viewing will take place between midnight and dawn local time.
If you can't be bothered with fresh air, Slooh will be live-streaming the shower the night of August 12. Once that's done with, it's time to get ready for the total solar eclipse, which will arrive just over a week later. It's a pretty good month if you're looking for space to be your escape from everything happening on the ground.
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