One of the curious features in the Milky Way, next to the star Deneb, the least bright star in the Summer Triangle, is a patch of dark sky, known as the Northern Coal Sack. It is not an absence of stars, but rather a thick cloud of gas and dust blocking the light from more distant stars.

Our evening skies will be dark, inviting a fist look for the Perseid Meteor Shower, which extends from tonight through the 14th, peaking on the night if the 12th into the 13th. You might see some “non”-Perseid meteors as well, thanks to the tail end of a separate, longer-lasting meteor shower from late July, the not-so-famous Delta Aquariid meteors.

The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks every year near August 12th, as the Earth passes through the debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, with thousands of tiny pieces of dust and rock that burn up in our atmosphere 40 to 70 miles above us. After a few years of interference, the Moon shrinks to a slender Crescent, offering dark, favorable skies.