Once a year
Drop all of your plans for Saturday: The Perseid meteor shower is making its annual appearance, and will be filling the night sky with bright streaks from dark until dawn.
The moon will be a slender crescent, Jupiter and Venus are nicely-aligned and the weather is expected to be clear, so this is a perfect opportunity to stay up late and catch some meteors. Where should you go for optimal viewing?
"The further you are from the big city, the more you see," James Wooten, planetarium astronomer for the Houston Museum of Natural Science, tells CultureMap.
Just lay back, look up and enjoy the celestial show.
Though some of the brighter streaks will be visible even within the city, the most impressive sights can be seen about 40 miles away from Houston's bright lights.
A decent map of light pollution in the area can be found here, but the general rule goes something like this: The more rural, and the more open the sky, the better.
Meteors will become visible between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in the northeast — but Wooten says that they will become more and more frequent, originating from a higher and higher point in the sky, in the pre-dawn hours.
Wooten recommends a blanket and the naked eye for viewing, since streaks are sporadic and difficult to follow with a telescope. Just lay back, look up and enjoy the celestial show.
The George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park is hosting a viewing party on Saturday. The park will remain open until 2 a.m. Normal park fees apply, and attendees can purchase a $5 ticket for the Gueymard Telescope beginning at 5 p.m.