A meteor streaks over the Stellafane Observatory in Springfield, Vermont, on August 7, near the start of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The 2010 Perseids sky show reaches its peak Thursday night, with a moonless sky providing near-perfect observing conditions late Thursday into early Friday, astronomers say. The Perseids should be most visible between 3 p.m. ET on August 12 and 2 a.m. ET on August 13. A very thin, waxing crescent moon will set about an hour after sunset, leaving behind a dark night sky for the Perseid meteors to shine. (Read about another sky show this week featuring a planetary triangle.) Observers in Europe and North America should see the most meteors at the start of the peak, while in Asia the best show should be early Friday, according to Raminder Singh Samra, resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. (See asteroid and comet pictures.) People in the Southern Hemisphere should be able to see the 2010 Perseids too, Samra said, but it won't be as brilliant as up north. —With reporting by Andrew Fazekas

Early Perseids 2010 Show

A meteor streaks over the Stellafane Observatory in Springfield, Vermont, on August 7, near the start of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The 2010 Perseids sky show reaches its peak Thursday night, with a moonless sky providing near-perfect observing conditions late Thursday into early Friday, astronomers say. The Perseids should be most visible between 3 p.m. ET on August 12 and 2 a.m. ET on August 13. A very thin, waxing crescent moon will set about an hour after sunset, leaving behind a dark night sky for the Perseid meteors to shine. (Read about another sky show this week featuring a planetary triangle.) Observers in Europe and North America should see the most meteors at the start of the peak, while in Asia the best show should be early Friday, according to Raminder Singh Samra, resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. (See asteroid and comet pictures.) People in the Southern Hemisphere should be able to see the 2010 Perseids too, Samra said, but it won't be as brilliant as up north. —With reporting by Andrew Fazekas
Photograph courtesy Dennis di Cicco, Sky & Telescope

Perseid Pictures: Meteor Shower Dazzles Every August

Wondering what to look for Thursday night? See photos of past and present Perseids. The meteor shower puts on a stellar show every year.

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