The Perseid Meteor Shower – annually one of the brightest shows of shooting stars – will hit its peak at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 12.
Many years that would mean the nights before and after would see fantastic outbursts of 80-200 meteors per hour.
This year, however, the moon will be about three-quarters full and rising at midnight, which is typically prime time for shower-watching. That will make the Perseids a bit more difficult to see.
NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke expects visible rate to be cut by about half to 40-50 per hour as the bright moon washes out the fainter meteors.
Cloud cover, which is currently part of the forecast for the weekend, could further reduce the show.
In a brighter part of the Perseid forecast, the annual July-through-August meteor shower often incudes quite a few fireballs and this year should be no different.
The Perseids originate at a point near the constellation Perseus, but that is not essential for locating them. Simply retrace the paths of the first few you spot and you will find that point of origin.
The meteors are the trailing debris of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every year from mid-July through late August, Earth crosses the orbital path of the comet, and the Perseids hit the upper atmosphere at about 130,000 miles per hour.
Although the peak is expected this weekend, the Perseid shower is already under way and will continue through August 24.