PORTLAND -- The best star show of the year hits its peak Thursday evening and through the night.

The Perseid Meteor Shower results from the Earth passing through the debris of the Swift-Tuttle Comet, said OMSI Planetarium Director Jim Todd.

The precise timing of the shower is always uncertain, Todd said. The 2010 peak will be around 5 p.m. Thursday, but meteor sightings should continue into the early hours of Friday, he said.

The best place is out in the country under clear skies, he said, where 60 or more meteors can be spotted in an hour. With dark but hazy skies, it may still be possible to see 30 to 40 an hour.

Stay inside the lights of the greater Portland-area and you'll be lucky to see 20 an hour, he said.

The moon will set Thursday night at 9:23, making the night sky completely dark.

OMSI will be having star parties Thursday evening at Rooster Rock State Park in the Columbia Gorge and Stub Stewart State Park on Oregon 47.

Both events start at 9 p.m. Other sponsors are the Rose City Astronomers, the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers and Oregon Parks and Recreations. Both events are free but parking is $5.

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