Here's How to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower This Weekend

The Perseid meteor shower is almost here, meaning that it's nearly time to head outside and lift your eyes toward the heavens, where you can gaze upon hundreds of shooting stars lighting up the night sky. The meteor shower is expected to peak this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 11 and 12).

And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to get a good view, or even to wish upon a shooting star (or several dozen of them).

"All you've got to do is go outside, find a nice dark spot, lie flat on your back and look up," Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

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"You don't want binoculars. You don't want a telescope. You just use your eyes."

This year's show is expected to be especially stunning, in part, because the moon will be a thin crescent and will set early, leaving a dark night sky for stargazing, reported Space.com, a Live Science sister site. And even though there won't be as many shooting stars as in past years — in 2016, for example, there were as many as 200 visible meteors per hour — there will still be a boatload this weekend, with as many as 60 to 70 meteors per hour during its peak, Cooke told Space.com.

That's way more than on a typical night, when just a handful of meteors per hour whiz by, according to NASA.

Every summer, Earth ploughs through this thick trail (this year, it entered the trail on July 17, and it will exit on Aug. 24), allowing some of the comet's ancient debris to enter and burn up in our planet's atmosphere. As the space rocks burn, they create a bright streak of light known as meteors, or shooting stars.

Our planet will plough through the densest and dustiest part of the trail this weekend. 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 Aug. 12 to 13.

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