Set your alarms: Best meteor shower of the year will peak this week


Set your alarms for a dazzling show in the night sky.

Up to 100 shootings stars are expected to streak across the sky per hour when the annual Perseids meteor shower peaks this week, NASA says.

And this year's annual meteor shower is expected to be one of the best this year.

That's because it'll be "moonless." The event coincides with the new moon Friday (the moon will be in a crescent phase and not up for most of the night) – the darker sky will help people see even the dimmest meteors, if you're far enough from city lights, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Slooh Community Observatory says the to catch the best view of the Perseids, look up at the sky after midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday. NASA notes the meteor shower will peak Wednesday night through Thursday morning, with the best time to see the shower in the pre-dawn hours Thursday.

The forecast is calling for clear skies in Minnesota Wednesday night, which will be favorable for viewing the show.

Experts told CNN these conditions haven't been available since 2010. Last year, the Perseids coincided with the "super moon," making the show less visible.

Burning bits of ice and dust

The Perseids are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years, NASA says. And every August, Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris.

That debris is made up of bits of ice and dust that burn up in Earth's atmosphere, which is what creates "one of the best meteor showers of the year," NASA notes.

The Perseids, which are named after the constellation Perseus (the direction from where the meteors appear to radiate), have been observed for 2,000 years, reports note.

Tips to view the show

If you're planning on getting up to catch the show, NASA suggests finding an open skyline where trees or buildings won't obstruct your view. For optimal viewing, find a spot that's far away from any artificial light.

Then, lie on your back on the ground and look straight up. But be patient, meteors tend to come in clusters, so it could take 10-20 minutes before you see any, and then you'll catch several in a row.

If facing mosquitos isn't your forte, NASA and Slooh will both be streaming the Perseids live online.

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