As the night nears dawn, Cooke says viewers can expect to see a meteor every minute or so, which is about standard for the Perseids. But, keep your head up and eye to the sky, you might catch a glimpse of a few shooting stars in the days leading up to or days following the peak. Unfortunately, there's always the chance that bad weather like fog or rain will create unfavorable viewing conditions.
The Perseids meteor shower is basically a mass of shooting stars, which light up the skies for avid stargazers below each year.
The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes through the trail of dust left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit of the sun every 133 years.
Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.
The comet whose tail creates the Perseus shower is called 109P/Swift-Tuttle, and is named after the USA astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, who discovered it in 1862. "Most particles are about the size of a small rock or beach sand, and they weigh just about 1-2 grams (roughly the same as a paperclip)".
The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear, known as the radiant, lies in the constellation of Perseus.
"Comets are spectacular and attractive and take months to go across the sky but every time they go near the sun they are melted down a little bit". This weekend (August 12-13th) marks the peak period to view the Perseids across all of North America.
You can help find a dark enough spot near you, using this atlas of artificial sky brightness.
However the spectacular meteor shower also has biblical connotations. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year's Perseid meteors.
When can I see it?Your rooftop may not be the best solution, especially if you're in downtown (you need to get as far away from light pollution as possible).
Plus, it's good to give your eyes time to adjust; your peepers can take around 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
Fortunately, none of these should be a major issue this year.