The Olympics aren't the only big show going on in the world. The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend; one of the biggest natural shows in the sky.
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the best meteor showers all year. Shooting stars from this show can be seen from late July until August 20 but the peak occurs August 11 through the morning of August 12.
A waning crescent moon will make the skies dark and provide a great background for the meteor shower, however weather conditions in some areas may not be so convenient. Clouds and rains may make visibility difficult in certain parts of the east coast, but if possible, this isn't a show you want to miss. The Perseid meteor shower will produce between 20 to 120 meteors per hour during the peak, depending on what part of the world you're in.
Meteors are the dusty remains of comets. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year in late July and early August as the Earth passes through the remains of the comet Swift-Tuttle. It earned its name as the meteors of this shower seem to radiate out of the Perseus constellation.
For best viewing, find an unobstructed view that is far from city lights. You'll want the skies to be as dark as possible, so you might want to head to a park or beach. Lie down on a towel or in a lawn chair and look towards the northeastern part of the sky as this is where Perseus is located. You do not have to look straight up into the sky, so don't strain your neck.
You can start looking for meteors late on August 11 starting around 10 p.m, but the best of the show will occur in the morning hours of August 12. Some of the best times to watch are after 2 A.M. up until the sun rises. Be sure to stay alert. A meteor streak can go by in a second or less. You don't need binoculars or a telescope to see the meteors. In fact, these objects may make it more difficult to see the show, so let your eyes work alone.
If weather conditions aren't great or you miss tonight's show for some other reason, don't worry. The meteors can still be seen for several nights after this weekend's peak.
NASA will also be livestreaming the show on their website while astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., host a live chat between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. EDT. Click Here to view the livestream and chat.
For photos of past Perseid meteor showers, check out the gallery of stunning photos on Space.com.