"The best meteor shower of the year" is just getting warmed up as the Perseids build toward a mid-August peak.
One of the best shows in the solar system is kicking into gear as the annual Perseid meteor shower lights up the night sky for 2021. We can thank large comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle for the little pieces of space debris that hit Earth's atmosphere and turn into the distinctive "shooting stars" of the meteor shower.
According to NASA, the Perseids will be active from 14 July to 24 August, with the peak coming in mid-August. The space agency says it's "considered the best meteor shower of the year."
The Perseids are popular for their reliability and the potential for spectacular fireballs. "The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50 to 100 meteors seen per hour) and occur with warm summer night time weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view them," said NASA.
You can spot the meteors anywhere in the sky, though they get their name because they appear to be radiating from the constellation Perseus. To find Perseus, check out a stargazing app that will help you locate the constellation. Perseus isn't the actual source of the shower, but it can be helpful in tracking down the sometimes elusive streaks of light.
You don't have to wait for the mid-August peak to enjoy the action. A dark spot on a clear night can deliver a worthwhile viewing experience throughout the Perseids' visit. Catch those shooting stars while you can!