Earth is passing through a particularly dense clump of debris this year - the source of the outburst - caused by the influence of Jupiter's gravity on Swift-Tuttle's trail. The number of meteors is increasing as Earth penetrates the heart of the debris, and it will diminish again once it passes through (after the peak).
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The moon will be full six days after the meteor shower's peak, which might wash out the vivid streaks across the sky. So it might be a good idea to look earlier on, before the peak, to see the brightest streaks and fireballs, and to go to the darkest location you can, Cooke said. All of the meteors will appear to stream away from the constellation Perseus - that apparent source is called the shower's radiant - but will materialize all across the sky.
You don't need a telescope to see the meteors. In fact, because telescopes narrow your field of view, it's much easier to watch a meteor shower with the naked eye, just looking up at the entire sky. It will take around 30 minutes in the dark night for your eyes to adjust, and Cooke suggested to plan for a few hours outdoors, taking in the views. The Perseids will appear most clearly in the Northern Hemisphere after 10 p.m. local time, and the meteor rate will increase each night all the way until dawn.
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"If anybody's going to get out and see a meteor shower, it probably should be the Perseids this year," Cooke said. "It is the one I would flag and say you've got to go out to."
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