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200 Meteors Per Hour Set to Streak Across the Sky Tonight: How to Watch Perseid Shower

Perseid is Here: So What Causes a Meteor Shower? 0:42

The Perseid Meteor Shower is set to reach its peak early Friday morning when as many as 200 meteors per hour are expected to streak across the night sky.

With an outburst of meteors forecast — double the usual rate — the annual meteor shower is one no sky gazer will want to miss.

Image: Perseid meteor shower seen in Poland
A shooting star (L, top) is seen on the night sky during the perseid meteor shower in Jankowo, near Poznan, Poland, August 11, 2016. LUKASZ OGRODOWCZYK / EPA

The clearest view will be in the western states, from International Falls, Minnesota to El Paso, Texas. Fog will make viewing difficult along the California coast, but there will be clearer skies inland.

The best time is sometime after midnight but before dawn on Friday, according to NASA. The space agency recommends going outside for 45 minutes first, to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.

Bring a blanket, lie on your back and gaze at the sky as the meteors whizz across the sky at speeds of 132,000 miles per hour.

The Perseid Meteor Shower has been observed for at least 2,000 years. The meteors are the result of space debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet striking the atmosphere. As the specks of dust disintegrate, they create the dazzling bright streaks.

The specks of dust can reach temperatures ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit as they move across the night sky.