(Taken from the article in the CBCNews: Technology and Science section.) The Perseids happen each August as Earth passes through the stream of dust and debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As those particles or meteoroids smash into the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up, they produce bright streaks across the sky that we see as meteors or shooting stars.
During a typical year, if skies are dark and clear, you can expect to see a meteor every minute to every 30 seconds during the peak, says Peter Brown, a professor with the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, Ont. “And a lot of those meteors will be pretty bright.”
This year, he says, “the rates could be up to … a couple every minute, maybe even three a minute” if you’re camping or at the cottage, away from city lights. Dark skies are key to seeing lots of meteors.”
In Canada, no matter what province you’re in, the best time for viewing is between midnight and sunrise on Aug. 12, with improving views after the moon has set and the constellation Perseus — where the meteors will appear to originate — gets high in the sky.