CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) – One of the year’s best meteor showers, the Perseid, has begun dazzling stargazers across the U.S.
At its peak, the shower provides 50-100 meteors an hour for sky watchers to see, according to NASA.
When to watch it
The Perseid meteor shower is a yearly event viewable in the months of July and August. The Perseids were first visible beginning July 14, but will last through August 24. The peak is expected around August 11-13.
Clear skies are key to viewing the meteor shower. It is visible in some places as early as 10 p.m., but the nightly peak is between 2 a.m. and sunrise.
What is it?
The comet 109P/Swift-Turtle is responsible for the light show. The Perseid Meteor Shower is caused by the Earth traveling through debris and dust particles of the comet.
Those dust particles become the streaks of light visible in the sky when they collide with our atmosphere.
It’s called the Perseid meteor shower because the meteors appear to originate from the Perseus constellation — though this is not the source of the show.
Photos from Past Displays
A long exposure picture shows a Perseid meteor crossing the night sky and stars trails above the ruins of a medieval castle in the village of Kreva, some 100 km northwest of Minsk, on August 12, 2019. (Photo by Sergei GAPON / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)
SPRING MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, NV – AUGUST 13: A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above desert pine trees on August 13, 2015 in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada. The annual display, known as the Perseid shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth’s orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT – Perseids meteors cross the night sky over a Catholic church in the village of Vowchyn, some 380 km southwest of Minsk, on August 12, 2018. (Photo by Sergei GAPON / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT – A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above a camping site at the Negev desert near the city of Mitzpe Ramon on August 11, 2020 during the Perseids meteor shower, which occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP) (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT – Perseids meteors cross the night sky over a stork sitting in its nest in the village of Yatskovichy, some 374 km southwest of Minsk, on August 13, 2018. (Photo by Sergei GAPON / AFP) (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)