Perseid meteor showers over Idaho

Perseid meteor showers over Idaho »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - You may have already seen them. Shooting stars are becoming more prevalent as July comes to an end. Don't worry, it's not a sign foretelling the end of the world, it's the Perseid meteor shower.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As the comet passes through space it leaves behind comet dust. Once a year, every July and August the earth moves through this dust and as it reaches the earth's atmosphere it burns up, leaving giant streaks of light across the sky.

Most of the meteors originate in the direction of the constellation Perseus, hence the showers name. The display happens every year as we pass through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet.

The show lasts from July 17 through Aug. 24 and this year the Perseids will peak Aug 13. On this night the avid skywatcher could see up to 100 meteors per hour, flying trough the sky at 37 miles per second. That's more than seven times faster than the space shuttle.

The best time to see the Perseids is right before sunrise, but this year the full moon occurs only one day after the peak so astronomers are expecting a lackluster show.