A bright Perseid meteor cuts across Orion's Belt at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning during the peak of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower Aug. 12, 1997. (Wally Pacholka/AP)

Every August, the Earth passes through the debris stream of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which leaves a trail of fireballs in its wake. The result is the bright Perseid meteor shower, which rains down streaks of green and yellow shooting stars in the night sky. It will reach its peak Friday and Saturday night.

It will be vying for attention with the full moon, but the Capital Weather Gang reports that even with the bright moon in the sky, there’s still plenty of meteors bright enough to show up.

Steve Tracton writes, “The Perseids in 2011 may not be the Snowmaggedon of meteor showers, but I suspect as snow lovers would not be disappointed with a moderate snowstorm, sky watcher enthusiasts will still enjoy this year’s shower.”

You don’t need any special equipment for a viewing. Just head out to a beach or park away from city lights, in the early hours of the morning, and watch the northeast quadrant of the sky. NASA created this guide to show you where the meteors will originate from:


If you can’t see the shower, here’s a timelapse filmed in Joshua Tree National Park last year:

Here’s a video guide to watching the shower created by NASA: