What you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower

Once evening falls Sunday expect to see a meteor or a

Once evening falls Sunday expect to see a meteor or a"shooting star" streaking across the sky every few minutes

As long as skies are clear, Americans from coast to coast can see the meteor shower right overhead.

He said the meteor activity has been ongoing for more than two weeks and will continue for about another week. The peak days will be Saturday night and Sunday night.

"The reason we see the Perseids is because the earth travels through the tail of a comet", Kat Kelly, an astronomer at Vancouver's H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, told On the Coast guest host Angela Sterritt.

The annual spectacle in the sky is typically one of the best meteor showers of the year. Arriving by that time should give your eyes ample time to adjust to the darkness.

Perseid meteors pose no threat to Earth, as many of them burn up in the atmosphere more than 50 miles above the surface. Every meteor we see is actually a tiny piece of the comet burning up as it strikes the Earth's atmosphere.

The meteors can be traced to the Perseus constellation, from which they get their name, which will climb in the northeastern sky as the evening passes. It averages about 60 meteors per hour. They can reach between 3,000 and 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit during this shower. "Even if the sky is dark enough, if you are exposed to any bright light nearby, your eyes will not be dark-adapted", said Bellavia.

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The best viewing will be away from city lights and other sources of light pollution.

Meteor showers are named after the constellation of stars the meteors radiate from.

And don't forget to grab your camera before you head out.

During this period, a small number of meteors will streak across the starry skies.

The Virtual Telescope Project will be streaming a view of the Perseid meteor shower on Sunday from the Castel Santa Maria in Italy's Perugia province, where the community is restoring the 16th-century church that has been damaged by several earthquakes.

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