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​The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks Saturday (Aug. 12). Traditionally one of the best displays of the year, these fast and bright meteors are the result of the Earth passing through the debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle.

What Are The Perseids?

The Perseids are bits and pieces of cosmic dust and debris left in the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth passes through this trail every year with the debris slamming into the upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 130,000 miles an hour. Swift-Tuttle itself is a "periodic" comet with an orbital period of 133 years. It is next expected to fly past Earth on August 5, 2126. It has an impressive 16 mile wide nucleus and is the largest object in the solar system to repeatedly pass close to Earth.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when viewing the annual Perseid Meteor Shower:

1.) Set Your Expectations

It would be amazing to see the sky filled with giant, slow burning meteors that light up the night. The Perseids, despite being the best shower of the year, aren’t like that. Think of it this way: don’t go in expecting a torrential downpour; instead it’s much more like a light, spring shower.

2.) Dress Appropriately

Dress warmly. Yes, it’s August, but that doesn’t mean shorts and a flip flops. You’ll be outside in the middle of the night and it’s going to get cold. You’re going to want to bring a sweater, perhaps a jacket, and a few blankets to wrap up in.

3.) Get Away From Ambient Light Sources

Everything from the street lights, your front porch light, and even the bright screen on your phone can take away from your viewing enjoyment. If you’re eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you look down at your iPhone screen to check email, your eyes will have to readjust again. Try and find somewhere nice and dark for best enjoyment.

4.) Have Patience

As with nearly every aspect of astronomy, patience is the key. If you don’t see one in the first five minutes, don’t give up. Your eyes need at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Find a comfortable spot, pick a spot in the sky, and just watch.

It’s important to note that this year viewing in the evening will be hampered by the nearly full moon. Best viewing times will be after the moon sets early in the morning. So keep your back to the bright moon, look for the constellation Cassiopeia (the big ‘W’) and good luck!