Here's a reason to look up tonight: the Perseid meteor shower.

The Perseids actually show up every year in August, but 2016 is a special year because an outburst has been predicted with double the usual amount of meteors seen per hour.

"Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke from NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office.

The last Perseid outburst was documented in 2009.

The Perseid meteor shower happens when the Earth runs into debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. The last time the comet passed by the sun was in 1992.

However, what will be lighting up the sky from Thursday evening to Friday at dawn are not leftovers from this most recent pass. Rather, this year's Perseids will be coming from debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle's trip from 1862 or earlier.

Meteors range in size, but most are about as big as a grain of sand. It's expected that numerous small bursts will be visible in the sky, with the Perseids zooming by at about 133,000 miles per hour and bursting some 60 miles overhead.

To view this year's Perseid meteor shower, it will be crucial to find a spot with a clear view of the whole night's sky, preferably where the skies are dark. This may be difficult for those in the city, so Jackie Faherty of the American Museum of Natural History suggests looking for the next-best thing: a spot with a wide, unobstructed view.

Take note that moonlight and weather can obscure views, but the best time to watch the spectacle is between midnight and dawn of Friday, Aug. 12. Allow your eyes to adjust to the dark, giving it about 45 minutes. Just lie back and look straight up. No need to look in any particular direction.

According to NASA, while the Perseid meteor shower will peak Aug. 11 and 12, there may also be increased activity from Aug. 12 to 13.

In the event that weather and the moonlight get in the way of the view, you can still catch the Perseids online, as NASA will be live-streaming the event Thursday and Friday starting 10 p.m. EDT.

In addition to NASA's Ustream account, Slooh will also be broadcasting the Perseid meteor shower live from an observatory in the Canary Islands. During the broadcast, astronomers will also be on hand to talk more about the celestial event and to answer queries from the public.

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