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Viewer's guide to meteor showers

By: Katherine Butler on Aug. 9, 2012, 12:12 p.m.
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The Perseids and the Milky Way, Lake Mary, Ariz.

The Perseids appear to fly at us from the constellation Perseus, but they really originate from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun once every 133 years. Every August, the Earth moves through its cloud of debris, bringing a spectacular light show to our planet. This year, the Perseids are set to peak Aug. 12. Pictured here are the Perseids as seen in 2010 over Lake Mary in Flagstaff, Ariz. NASA notes that the Perseid meteor showers have been observed by people for the past 2,000 years.