The Perseids Meteor Shower 2012 should be at its peak tonight and into Sunday, but the weather gods are clouding up the skies for the show.
The weather forecast for Urbandale is for mostly cloudy skies Saturday night and into Sunday. Hey, at least it won't be 100 degrees.
A good place to watch it would be Urbandale's , which boasts plenty of wide open and dark spaces.
NASA says Perseids rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky. A waning crescent moon will interfere slightly with this meteor shower, NASA says, but adds that "viewing should definitely be worth a look!"
On the night of Aug. 11-12, astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer questions about the 2012 Perseids meteor shower via an "Up All Night" live chat. To join the chat, go to this page and log in. The chat experts will be available to answer questions between the hours of 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Iowa time, beginning the evening of Aug. 11 and continuing into the morning of Aug. 12.
The shower splashes through the sky every year in early August when Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle'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.
As we offered earlier, here is a bit of advice from Space.com
If you don't see any meteors at first, be patient. This is a meteor shower, not a meteor storm. There will be a lot more meteors than you would see on a normal night, but they will still only come at random intervals, perhaps 20 or 30 in an hour.
When you do see a meteor, it will likely be very fast and at the edge of your field of vision. You may even doubt that what you saw was real. But, when you do see something, watch that area more closely, as two or three meteors often come in groups down the same track.