Shooting stars on display as Perseid meteor shower hits

Posted by Nick Dutton -

(AP) - Stargazers are looking forward to tonight's annual Perseid meteor shower.

Astronomers expect to spot streaking fireballs late tonight into dawn tomorrow. They estimate at least one or two meteors per minute.

The Perseid shower occurs when the Earth's orbit crosses the path of debris thrown off by Comet Swift-Tuttle. As the cosmic junk enters the atmosphere, it burns up in a flash, appearing as "shooting stars" across the sky.

In the past, the Perseid showers have produced such spectacular displays that people swamped radio stations with reports of a mysterious light in the sky.

The August shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus because the meteors appear to originate there.

The Associated Press contributed this report.