What you need to know to see this weekend's big meteor shower

This year, the Perseid meteor shower will be particularly spectacular because the moon will be a thin crescent and will set early leaving a dark canvas for the meteors' bright streaks. While the Perseid meteor shower will be visible on Saturday night, the real show comes on Sunday, with peak shooting star activity happening the night of August 12 to 13.

The Perseid meteor shower is a prolific meteor shower which occurs every year in mid-August. Though the shower hasn't yet reached its peak, observers have already reported spotting short bursts of high meteor activity (15 meteors per minute) at times, as well as significant meteor activity (~100) over several hours.

The view is expected to be exceptional this year because the showers coincide with a new moon. Half of watching a meteor shower is waiting around for them to appear.

For casual and die-hard astronomers alike, the middle of August means the return of the Perseid meteor shower. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky so try and find an open area, away from street lights. Annual meteor showers are created when Earth's orbit around the sun intersects with the wake of a comet's orbit, and debris thrown off from the tail hits our atmosphere and burns up upon entry. The best time to view the meteor shower is between 1AM and 3AM.

Although the shower peaks on August 12, you'll be able to see a good deal of shooting stars all weekend and into Monday.

If you want to catch the Perseids in all their glory, a drive to the darkest place near your home should suffice.

You won't have to worry about one bonking you on the head - most of the meteors in the Perseid shower are far too small for that.

"Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness", Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope senior editor said in a statement.

This year's shower will be putting on its best display for those in Europe, but as it's peak last so long, from the 11th to 12th, it should also put on a spectacular display for the United States and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. However, with a little planning and some patience, you can get some truly memorable images.

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