The annual Perseid Meteor Shower will be at its peak tonight and tomorrow morning, August 12-13.

The shower is dependable for at least a few very visible "shooting stars," and some years it's incredibly active. With a clearing sky at our altitude in western Montana, it's worth getting out of bed for a while in the early morning hours between midnight and sunrise. The Moon is very bright, so the smaller meteors won't be visible, but the ones that always amaze are the larger ones.

On the scientific side of things, the Perseid "cloud" is a path of pebbles left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The Earth passes through that "trail of bread crumbs" every year about this time time and people have been looking up at the shower (in recorded times) since about 36 A.D.

It's called the Perseids because the point in the sky most of them seem to be coming from is the constellation Perseus. (But you can see the meteors anywhere in the sky.)

Pre-dawn is the best time, because the Earth is turning into the path and the chances of some of the little rocky pebbles hitting the atmosphere are better.

Though this is the peak of the shower, the week before and the week afterwards can be good nights for meteors.