Perseid meteor shower peaks August 11-13

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks the weekend of August 11 and 12, 2012. says the best times to watch are after midnight and before dawn August 11, 12 and 13.  The meteor shower peaks between midnight and dawn Sunday, August 12.

The Perseids happen every summer at this time and are most visible in the Northern Hemisphere.  For best viewing, find an area away from the glare of city lights and simply look up.  The highest volume of meteors are usually visible in the dark hours just before dawn. 

Longer-lasting “earthgrazer” meteors, which appear to travel horizontally across the sky, are often more visible in the evening sky.  The Perseids fly every which way in the sky and on a moonless night, the Perseids produce 50 or more visible meteors per hour. 

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle and gets its name because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus, just below Cassiopeia in the northeastern sky.  It starts low in the sky at evening and climbs upward throughout the night.

NASA will host a live online chat during the overnight hours Saturday night to Sunday morning during which they will also stream video and answer questions.  To check out the chat, click here.