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Perseid meteor showers: Sky show of the year approaches (pictures)

As they do each summer, the annual Perseid meteor showers are about to rain down, offering a spectacular sight for earthling sky gazers.

CNET Reviews staff
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Techatticup Mine

As they do each summer, the annual Perseid meteor showers are about to rain down, offering a spectacular sight for earthling sky gazers. The display, known as the Perseid shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. But talk about luck -- bad luck in this case: the arrival of the Perseids coincides with the August full moon.

Still, you should be able to get a good glimpse at what has been a dazzling display for earthlings over the last couple of millennia. In this 2010 image, a Perseid meteor (upper left) streaks across the sky over a building at the Techatticup Mine in Eldorado Canyon, Nev.

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Near Rogers Spring in Lake Mead

The Perseid shower got its name because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky. In this 2010 image a Perseid meteor streaks across the sky near Rogers Spring in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area of Nevada.
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Passing satellite

By the evening of August 12, astronomers expect the Perseids will shoot across the sky at a rate of 50 to 80 meteors per hour. Your last chance to see the showers will come August 22.

In this 2010 image Perseid meteors fall as a satellite passes across the sky near Rogers Spring in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada.

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Summer showers

The Perseid meteor shower regularly takes place each year in late July and early August.
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Cook Bank building ruins

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky over the ruins of the Cook Bank building in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nev., in this 2010 image.
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Rotbuehl, Switzerland

A meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere during the Perseid meteor shower in the northeastern village of Rotbuehl in Switzerland in this 2010 image.

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