Shane Michael Black
Photographer Shane Michael Black captured the glow of Perseid meteors ... and the Milky Way ... and fireflies ... in this picture taken near Florida's Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. Black faced a few challenges, "but in the end, getting to watch the Milky Way, some meteors and fireflies dancing around make it worth it, I'd say." For more of Black's photos, check out his Facebook page, Flickr gallery, Instagram account (@shanemichaelblack) and 500px website.
Which is better: Looking back at pictures of the Perseid meteor shower at its peak, or looking forward to your own peak Perseid experience?
This year, you can have the best of both worlds. The annual meteor show was stunning on Sunday night, but it's expected to be nearly as good on Monday night, going into Tuesday morning.
Sunday night was "fantastic," Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society reported on the Meteorobs discussion forum. During the height of the display over Southern California's Mount Laguna, he spotted three or four shooting stars in just a minute's time.
"This was much more like the impressive displays of the late '70s through the '90s, when the Perseids often challenged the Geminids as the top display of the year," he wrote.
Our guide to the Perseid show tells you how to make the most of the meteors — particularly this year, when the moon's glare doesn't get in the way. If the skies are cloudy, or if you just can't stay up to see the darkest skies, you can still get a vicarious thrill from these pictures — as well as the photo galleries at SpaceWeather.com, Space.com, Universe Today and Flickr.
Mike Lewinski caught this meteor flash on the night of Aug. 11-12 from a vantage point near Embudo, N.M. "This Perseid fireball was so bright it illuminated the clouds," he said in his Flickr posting. (Released with Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license - CC BY 2.0: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)
Gene Blevins / Reuters
Los Angeles photographers Shawn Kaye, Scott Meadows and Steve Gentry set their cameras pointed to the stars during the Perseid meteor shower early on Aug. 12 north of Castaic Lake, Calif.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
In this Aug. 10 photo taken with a long shutter speed, a meteor flashes at lower right as it enters Earth's atmosphere. The silhouette of an olive tree dominates this view of a Perseid shooting star from the village of Fanos in central Greece. The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with Comet Swift-Tuttle, visibile from mid-July to mid-August. This year's meteor shower was projected to peak on Aug. 12.
Kieran Doherty / Reuters
The Perseid meteor shower in the night sky over Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, England.
"I managed to capture this bright meteor over the UK last night during the Perseid meteor shower," Jamie Cooper wrote in an email Monday. This animated image flips back and forth between the meteor's flash and the "smoke train" it left behind in the sky. For more from Cooper, check out his website and his Flickr gallery.
Dani Pozo / AFP - Getty Images
A multiple exposure picture taken in the early hours of Aug. 11 shows a Perseid meteor flashing low in the sky, as seen from a vantage point near the municipality of La Hiruela, on the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Madrid.
The night sky should be spectacular as the Perseid meteor shower peaks. Send us your photos or add the hashtag #Perseid or #NBCNewsPics on Twitter or Instagram.
Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.
First published August 12 2013, 7:25 AM