The Perseid meteor shower is going to occur the nights of August 10th and August 11th. This is one of the best meteor showers every year. There are many meteor showers annually. Unlike the rest of the meteor showers, this one can be viewed throughout most of the night. Many of the other showers have specific times of viewing in a night.
A meteor shower is basically many meteors, or shooting stars, entering Earth’s atmosphere. These are based on comets traveling around the sun. When the comets travel, they leave a chain of ice, dust and debris behind them. When Earth travels through these paths, the particles from the comets enter Earth’s atmosphere. The friction caused by the atmosphere vaporizes the particles and emit an intense amount of light as they travel through the air. This causes the “shooting star” effect.
Rarely, meteors actually travel all the way to the surface of the Earth. These are called meteorites. Larger meteorites cause massive craters on the surface. Most meteorites are smaller though, and do not cause that much damage.
Although shooting stars can be seen anywhere in the night sky, they all come from a common place in the sky. Each meteor shower is named after a constellation that coincides with the region of the sky that the meteors seem to be coming from. This region is called a radiant, because the meteors seem to come from a central radius. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is the constellation Leo. This meteor shower radiates from the Perseus constellation, hence why it is named the Perseid meteor shower.
The best way to view the meteor shower is away from any city lights. Cities have a glow around them due to the constant lights that are always illuminated. Once you are out of reach from those lights the sky will become much darker. The stars will also look much brighter, and you will be able to see many more stars. Now all you have to do is grab a comfortable chair or blanket and watch the sky for nature’s show.