Annual meteor shower to peak Sunday night

The spectacular Perseids meteor shower

The spectacular Perseids meteor shower or'shooting stars

The shower is usually visible every year between July 17 and August 24 around the world, but it's especially impressive the nights of August 11, 12 and 13, when up to 200 "shooting stars" will cross the sky every hour.

They arise when the Earth passes through the debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. With the moon in a new phase, the sky will remain exceptionally dark when between 70 and 150 meteors per hour may be seen, depending on one's viewing location. Small particles of comet dust burn up when entering Earth's atmosphere, creating the bright streaks (mistakenly) known as "shooting stars".

The meteors are called Perseids because they seem to dart out of the constellation Perseus.

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Cam and Dursley Astronomy Club members are making the most of the year's biggest and best display of shooting stars by holding their annual "shooting star party" this coming Saturday, on Stinchcombe Hill.

But no matter if the clouds or smoke clear, "you still need to get away from the light pollution of cities", Meteorologist M.J. McDermott said. Or head to the North Cascades, overlooking famously turquoise Diablo Lake near Colonial Creek South Campground. Meteor showers are a great opportunity for time-lapse videos and long-exposure photography, allowing your shots of the night sky to turn into van Gogh-like paintings of this starry spectacle.

As long as you're in the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower will be right overhead. NASA will also be streaming a view of the sky from the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook Page.

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