The Perseid meteor shower 2013 peak arrives this weekend, Aug. 11-12, and 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. What are your favorite stargazing spots in Dale City? Tell us in the comments.