The greatest meteor shower of the year peaks tonight

The challenge is timed to coincide with the Perseid Meteor Shower, so residents can enjoy the night sky while conserving energy.

NASA TV described the Perseid meteor shower as a display of "shooting stars" lighting up in the sky.

The Perseid meteor shower happens every August when Earth passes through a trail of tiny debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The idea is to see as much of the sky as possible - from as dark of a spot as possible - since meteors shoot through the sky from different spots.

Adams said that though the weather may prohibit viewing, she's hopeful that it will clear up before the meteor shower and encouraged people to participate even though they might not see meteors. The last Perseid outburst occurred in 2009. Scientists consider it an outburst when the shower peaks with double the normal number of meteors.

In the transition between Friday night and Saturday morning - 12:56 a.m. "Occasionally, though, Jupiter's gravity tugs the huge network of dust trails closer, and Earth plows through closer to the middle, where there's more material". "Under flawless conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour". When Earth crosses the paths of Swift Tuttle's debris, specks of comet particles hit Earth's atmosphere making it look like flashes of light. NASA points out that it may take up to 45 minutes for people's eyes to adjust to the darkness and be able to spot the sometimes-dim streaks. "And they've traveled billions of miles before their kamikaze run into Earth's atmosphere".

Perseid Meteors and Milky Way over the Mattole Valley.

The Perseids pose no danger to Earth. But an outburst could mean trouble for spacecraft.

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