By Todd Richissin
The Perseid meteor shower 2013 peak doesn't arrive until Aug. 11-12, but the show is already underway.
A favorite of stargazers, 2013 should be a spectacular year, with no pesky moonlight to wash out the streaks.
How spectacular is the show? NASA says Perseid rates can get as high as 100 visible meteors per hour, with many of them appearing not just as bright streaks but as fireballs hurtling through the sky.
The Perseids are the offspring of the comet Swift-Tuttle. We see the meteors when the Earth passes through the comet's orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. We see shooting stars -- rapid streaks of light -- as the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth and the air is heated to incandescence.
You can see the shower anywhere in the sky, but look toward the southeastern sky to see the meteors at their brightest and longest.
Where to watch? The darker the area the better. Some of the best places to head to in the Montgomery County and Prince George’s County area might be the McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland and Northway Fields in Greenbelt.