Tonight may be your chance to check out a rare meteor shower

It may be possible to catch a glimpse of a rare meteor shower tonight and Sunday morning, as the the Aurigid meteor shower is expected to peak tomorrow morning.

This meteor shower has only been seen four other times, in 1935, 1986, 1994 and 2007, apparently due to how erratic the stream of debris is. This particular stream of dust and ice was left behind by Comet Kiess — a 'long period' comet that takes somewhere between 1,800 and 2,000 years to complete an orbit around the Sun. According to NASA, the particles left behind by Kiess can create bright, oddly-coloured meteors streaking across the sky.

The meteor shower reaches its peak at 8 a.m. (local time) on September 1st, so although there's a chance to see at least a few meteors throughout the night, the best time to view the shower will be just before sunrise on Sunday. Under best conditions (dark skies, far from sources of light pollution), this shower will produce about 5 or so meteors tonight, and 14-20 meteors per hour before dawn Sunday morning.

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If the shower actually pays out this year, here's how to get the best viewing out of the event:

• Check your local weather report for cloud conditions. You can use the Clear Sky Chart, too. Find the chart for your location (or as close as possible), and then follow the guide. Also, check what the temperature will be like, and dress accordingly.

• Find somewhere dark, preferably away from large cities, so that you're as far away from light pollution as you can get. There's another good site for that, the Dark Sky Finder. Even if you can't get too far away, just try to pick a spot where there aren't any bright lights in your line of sight.

• Give yourself some time for your eyes to adjust to the dark. It varies from person to person, but it typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes for your eyes to completely adjust.

(Photo courtesy: NASA/SETI Institute)

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