Perseid meteor shower 2020: How and when to watch the sky’s best show of the year

The Perseid meteor shower, which occurs every August because of debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle, is almost here.

ExploreThis is the best place to see the Perseid meteor shower in Georgia

According to NASA, you should make plans to stay up late or wake up early the nights of August 11 to 12 and August 12 to 13. The Perseids are best seen between about 2 a.m. and dawn.

At peak in 2018, meteors raced at rates of about 60-70 meteors per hour. In 2016, we witnessed a whopping 150-200 meteors burst per hour. This year, however, stargazers will get a chance to revel in only about 15-20 meteors per hour.

Don’t let that turn you off from the spectacle, though. According to NASA, “the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature’s fireworks.”

ExplorePhotos: Perseid meteor shower brightens the night sky

When to see the Perseid meteor shower

You’ll be able to catch the popular meteor shower as Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from late July until late August, but if you want to best views, it’s all about catching it at peak time: between 2 a.m. local time through predawn hours of August 13.

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Watch the Perseid meteor shower livestream

If you want to watch the spectacle from the comfort of your bed, NASA will be hosting a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, if the weather cooperates. Watch on NASA Meteor Watch Facebook starting around 8 p.m. Aug. 11 through the early hours of Aug. 13. Meteor videos recorded by the NASA All Sky Fireball Network are also available each morning.

Where to see the Perseid meteor shower in person

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

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

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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:

Stephen C. Foster State Park

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.

Moccasin Creek State Park

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.

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Cooper’s Creek Recreational Area

6050 Appalachian Hwy Suches, GA 30572

Drive time from metro Atlanta: Approximately two hours

Campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Best practices

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.