This year there will be favourable viewing conditions. This year, the Perseids will peak at 50-70 meteors per hour.
On Sunday night (Aug. 12) and into early Monday morning (Aug. 13), Earth will push through the densest band of the Swift-Tuttle debris cloud that our planet has access to.
"So every year when the Earth orbits the sun and passes through that debris field you get this stream of particles that pass into the atmosphere and gives you this meteor shower", Twarog said.
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Such an adjustment occurs every 11 years or so, when Jupiter makes its closest approach to the Swift-Tuttle debris cloud, at a distance of about 160 million miles (257 million kilometers). The August shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus because the meteors appear to originate there. Nope! Although the peaks are the best times (as long as there's no moonlight), annual meteor showers typically last weeks, not days... building up gradually and then falling off rapidly.
The ideal time for meteor-spotting is when the sky is at its darkest; between 1am and the onset of dawn twilight. 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. Consequently, viewers are in for an especially bright show. However, they can be seen clearest after sunset. And if you're intrepid enough to travel to a dark sky park, here are some of the absolute best in the United States. Don't forget to allow some time for your eyes to adjust to the dark.
Patience is also a virtue, with shooting stars tending to appear in clusters, followed by a lull.
A cloudy night could still scupper your chances of spotting any meteors, however, so keep your eye on weather forecasts.