People have observed the "shooting stars" of the annual Perseid meteor shower for more than 2000 years.
Meteors are usually small bits of space debris that burn up as the pass through the Earth’s atmosphere. As they do, the appear as streaks of light across in sky, which is why they are sometimes called “shooting stars”. We usually only see these fiery wonders on dark nights, away from man-made lights.
Meteor showers are periods when we can predict there will be a significant number of visible meteors. They are caused by the Earth’s orbit around the sun passing through the debris field of a comet.
The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year between late July and late August when the Earth passes through the comet Swirf-Tuttle debris cloud. The meteors appear to come from a point in constellation Perseus in the northern sky. The best time to view the shower is in the early morning, pre-dawn hours.
The peak of the shower is usually in mid-August, when 60-80 meteors can be seen every hour.
In 2015, the Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of August 12-13.