According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year. They will be in "outburst" in 2016, which means they'll appear at double the usual rates. Learn more about the 2016 Perseid meteor shower in this video.
"This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour," Cooke said. It's the first such outburst since 2009. [Perseid Meteor Shower 2016: Sky Maps Guide (Gallery)]
The meteors will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus, which appears on the horizon at about 10 p.m. local time. However, the most meteors will be visible after midnight. They can appear all over the sky, but they will always look like they're streaking away from Perseus.
On the night of Aug. 11, the moon's light will interfere with the Perseids, but it will set at about 1 a.m. ( local time) on Aug. 12, NASA's Jane Houston Jones said in a video guide to August's night sky events. So the best time to look for them will be after moonset, she added.
This year, the comet's path is particularly crowded, which means the meteor shower is in "outburst" — a condition that occurs when the debris clumps together because of the influence of the giant planets, Cooke said.
"This Perseid outburst coming up in August — you could think of it in simplistic terms as Jupiter's gravity causing the particles to concentrate in front of Earth's path," Cooke said. "That doesn't happen with all showers, but since the Perseids have an orbit that takes them well past Jupiter, they can pass close enough to Jupiter that its gravity can mess with them."
The outbursts are irregular, and scientists have only had the computational power to predict what years they'd occur since the late 1990s.
What do you need to see them?
The key to seeing a meteor shower is "to take in as much sky as possible," Cooke said. Go to a dark area, in the suburbs or countryside, and prepare to sit outside for a few hours. It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and the longer you wait outside, the more you'll see. A rate of 150 meteors per hour, for instance, means two to three meteors per minute, including faint streaks along with bright, fireball-generating ones.
here for more about meteor showers.