"If you see one meteor shower this year, make it August's Perseids."

So advises NASA (while also giving a nod to December's Geminids). That's because not only are the Perseids the brightest meteor shower of the year, this year's show is going to be particularly stellar.

The meteor shower will peak this week on the "moonless nights" of Aug. 12 and 13, when the moon will be all but invisible ahead of the new moon on Aug. 14.

That means that unlike 2014, when a "supermoon" all but outshone Perseid, for the first time since 2010, there will be no moon to outshine the meteor shower and steal the spotlight from the Perseids this year.

If there are no clouds obscuring the night sky, the Perseids are easy to spot. They are fast, bright meteors that streak across the sky and leave trains of light behind them. When the shower hits its peak, stargazers can expect to see up to 50 meteors an hour.

The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus, because that is where the meteors appear to originate. But in fact, the real cause of the Perseids is the Earth passing through the debris trail left by comet Swift-Tuttle.

As our planet moves through the dust shower, comet particles collide with our atmosphere and burn up, creating flashes of light that are visible in skies over the Northern Hemisphere.

The best way to see them is with the naked eye. Here are some tips from NASA for getting the best view:

  • Some of the strongest showings will occur after midnight and into the predawn hours.
  • To see the show, get as far away from urban light as possible and find a location with a clear view of the night sky. 
  • Bring along a chair and be prepared to sit still for at least half an hour. If it's cool at night, you might also want to bundle up with a few extra layers and bring along a hot drink as well.
  • Once you get to your viewing location, search for the darkest patch of sky you can find. Meteors can appear anywhere overhead.
  • Let your eyes relax and don't look in any one specific spot so you can easily react to any movement up above.
  • Don't bother with a telescope or binoculars. Either will reduce the amount of sky you can see, lowering the odds of catching sight of a meteor.
  • While you’re sky-gazing, avoid using a flashlight or looking at your cellphone as both will destroy your night vision.