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Meteor showers: When and how to watch

By: Katherine Butler on Aug. 9, 2012, 12:12 p.m.
Geminid shower as seen through sculptures in

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Enjoy the show

Meteor showers are just one beautiful consequence of the 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles that bombard Earth every day. As the debris travels through the atmosphere and vaporizes, it provides us with light phenomena known as shooting stars. If the bits and pieces outlast their fiery journey and hit the Earth's surface, they are dubbed meteorites. Pictured here are sculptures as seen under a star-filled sky over Qingdao city, east China's Shandong province.

The best way to catch a meteor shower is to use your naked eyes, as a telescope or binoculars will limit the amount of sky you can see. Pick a dark patch of the sky, but don't focus on one spot. also offers this handy advice: "Avoid looking at your cellphone or any other light. Both destroy night vision. If you have to look at something on Earth, use a red light."

Here's a look at some of the biggest annual meteor showers and what you need to know to get the most out of your experience.