Dim the lights, grab a blanket and hope for clear skies -- an annual magic show, the Perseid meteor shower, can be seen Sunday and Monday nights.
You don't need tickets to view nature's free show. And no binoculars are needed, because the flashes may be anywhere in the sky, though they will seem to come from the northeast.
"The crucial issue is that meteors are faint, so you need a location where the sky is dark," according to Andrew Fraknoi, chairman of the astronomy department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. "The darker your site, the more you will see."
Your best views come after midnight -- so it is an event most appreciated by night owls. That's because the Earth turns after midnight to face the shower, so the meteors come more directly at us. And the crescent moon has set, immersing us in darkness.
At its peak, it is possible to see up to sixty shooting stars per hour. The shower actually started in July and will extend for most of August, but with less drama.
The stars are called the sons of Perseus, because they seem to shoot from that constellation, named after the Greek demigod famed for saving Andromeda from a sea monster. They were first recorded 2,000 years ago.
But they're not really stars -- just meteoric dust, no bigger than the size of a dime. They burn as they careen into the Earth's atmosphere at 7 to 44 miles per second.
"They are cosmic 'garbage' left over from a regularly returning comet, called Swift-Tuttle," after its discoverers, Fraknoi said. Leftovers from the early days of our solar system, the flashes are the last gasp of cosmic material that formed about 5 billion years ago.
To enjoy the event, get away from city lights and coastal fog. State or city parks or other safe, dark sites are your best bet. Dress warmly for nighttime temperatures.
Once you have settled at your observing spot, lie back so the horizon appears at the edge of your peripheral vision, with the stars and sky filling your field of view. Meteors will grab your attention as they streak by.
Be patient -- because they are more subtle than fireworks, it may take up to 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Several minutes might pass without a single flash.
If it's cloudy, don't despair: Another meteor shower, the Leonids, will spark the nigh sky on Nov. 16.