Perseid meteor shower to peak tonight and through this weekend  — How, when and where to watch

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Perseid meteor shower to peak tonight and through this weekend  — How, when and where to watch

Move over, total solar eclipse — the most popular meteor shower of the year is back.

The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August due to debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, will be visible until Aug. 24.

According to experts at Space.com, the shower will peak during overnight hours as Aug. 11 turns into Aug. 12 and once again during overnight hours between Aug. 12-13.

Though the near-full moon and its bright moonlight will slow down typical meteor rates, making meteors a little more difficult to see this year, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke said of the two nights, the meteor show will be most visible in the predawn hours of Aug. 12.

Normally, meteors race at rates of about 80 meteors per hour. “Instead of 80 to 100, [there will be] 40 to 50 per hour. And that's just because the moon's going to wash out the fainter ones,” Cooke told Space.com.

But the good news, he said, “is that Perseids are rich in fireballs” and the shower is still certainly worth stepping outside to catch a glimpse of.

When to see the Perseid meteor shower

Meteors streak above the Wyoming countryside early Tuesday morning north of Cheyenne in this time-elapsed photo. The past couple nights were the peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower, which run from mid-July through mid-August. The shower, which gets its name from the constellation, Persus, are the remants from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which last past through in 1992 and won't pass by again until the year 2125. (AP Photo/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Blaine McCartney) Blaline McCartney

You’ll be able to catch the popular meteor shower as Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle (July 17 to Aug. 24), but if you want to best views, it’s all about catching it at peak time.

The best time to catch the meteor shower is when the sky is darkest. And with the Perseids peaking around 1 p.m. EDT Aug. 12, the predawn hours of Aug. 12 are deemed the best to catch the stellar event this year.

But, according to Cooke, both the predawn hours of Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 will be a decent show.

Where to see the Perseid meteor shower

(Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Anadolu Agency

The Northern Hemisphere down to the mid-southern latitudes is prime real estate for this year’s show, Space.com reported.

Thanks to Active Junky, a sister site of Space.com, even city dwellers can get in on the fun, despite all the light pollution.

In Atlanta, Active Junky advises city dwellers in or nearby the bright buildings, traffic and other sources of light pollution, to travel to the following areas:

17515 Highway 177
Fargo, GA 31631

Drive time from metro Atlanta: Four hours and a half hours

This Okefenokee Swamp park was voted one of the best spots in the world for star gazing last year by the International Dark Sky Association for its vast skies and minimal light pollution.

The remote Georgia park is perfect for viewing all things celestial, including the famed Perseid meteor shower in August.

Make your reservations at one of the park’s 64 campsites.

North Georgia mountains

The beautiful mountains in northeast Georgia make for ideal campgrounds during the Perseid shower.

Some popular campgrounds near the mountains can be found at Moccasin Creek State Park  and Cooper’s Creek Recreational Area.

3655 Georgia Hwy197

Clarkesville, GA 30523

Drive time from metro Atlanta: Less than two hours

Make reservations at one of Moccasin Creek’s 54 campsites.

6050 Appalachian Hwy
Suches, GA 30572

Drive time from metro Atlanta: Approximately two hours

Campgrounds are first-come, first-serve.

Here are the best star-gazing locations to catch the Perseid meteor shower in or near the nation’s other biggest cities, according to Active Junky:

Chicago, Illinois

Indiana Dunes State Park

Silver Springs State Park

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan

Houston, Texas

Brazo Bend State Park

Sam Houston National Forest

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Los Angeles, California

Angeles National Forest

Santa Monica Mountains

Topanga State Park

Malibu Creek State Park

Miami, Florida

Everglades National Park

LaBelle, Florida

Lorida, Florida (Kissimmee River public area)

New York, New York

Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn

Carl Schurz Park in the Upper East Side

Jamaica Bay on Ruffle Bar Island

Cedar Point County Park on Long Island 

North-South Lake Campground

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

French Creek State Park

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Cherry Spring State Park

Sproul State Forest

Hooversville, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona

Tres Rios Wetlands

Lake Pleasant

Sun Valley Parkway

Seattle, Washington

Dash Point State Park

Salt Water State Park

Kayak Point Park

Mary E. Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve

Washington, D.C.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Greenbelt National Park

Burke Lake Park

Sky Meadow State Park

How to see the Perseid meteor shower

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky early Tuesday near Rogers Spring in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nev. The meteor display is known as the Perseid shower because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, and is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Dark and vast skies are essentially all you need to take in the sights of the Perseid meteor shower.

With peaks during overnight hours, you may also want to dress in warm clothes, bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on, a snack and water and some bug spray.

If you want to watch the spectacle from the comfort of your bed, NASA also typically launches a UStream via their NASA TV channel.

Return to AJC.com in August for updates about the Perseid meteor shower livestream.

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