A shooting star from the Perseid meteor shower streaks above rock formations in Hungary Wednesday. The Perseids peak this weekend, and thanks to relatively dark skies, the 2012 edition of the annual sky show should be well suited to naked-eye stargazing. (See "Perseid Meteor Shower—And Moon Flashes—Peaks Saturday.")
At their most visible late Saturday night and before dawn Sunday this year, the Perseids occur when Earth and the moon pass through a cloud of rocky particles shed by comet Swift-Tuttle.
Hitting the atmosphere at speeds of almost a hundred thousand miles (160,000 kilometers) an hour, the meteoroids burn up, producing streaks of light—meteors, or shooting stars—each lasting just a fraction of a second.
—With reporting by Andrew Fazekas