Everything you need to know about this weekend's meteor shower extravaganza


There's a chance to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower at any time during this period, but the extravaganza is at its peak around August 11, 12 and 13.

The Perseid meteor shower will peak in the early hours Friday and Saturday, but don't expect to easily see them from your backyard if you live in Southern California.

Fortunately, there are places within an hour's drive of downtown L.A. that offer good viewing spots too, provided skies don't cloud up. The Perseid meteor shower comes every year between July 17 and August 24 and gets its name from the Perseids constellation.

Space.com says that all you need to catch the meteor shower is some darkness and "a bit of patience". When they reach the Earth's atmosphere, they're called "meteors", and if they fall to the Earth's surface, they're called "meteorites". And as head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center, he ought to know.

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Astronomy Ireland predict that you will be able see up to 80 "shooting stars" an hour.

Unfortunately, the moon will be very bright, at 78% full, which could wash out some of the fainter meteors.

Sky & Telescope writes: "Lots of people head out to their hammocks or sprawl out on a sandy beach or grassy lawn, talk quietly, check their phones, and share a few laughs to the shower's paired rhythms - spells of sweet languor punctuated by sudden bursts of meteoric excitement".