STARGAZERS could be in for a treat this weekend as the Perseid meteor shower is set to whizz across the night sky. 

Here's everything you need to know...

What is it?

The Perseid meteors, shed by comet Swift-Tuttle, stage their show every August and are among the brightest of all shooting stars.

The Perseids were the first meteor shower to be linked to a comet when astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli spotted their association with Swift-Tuttle in 1862.

The comet orbits the sun every 135 years. As the Earth crosses its orbit, it ploughs through some of the debris left by the icy object on previous visits. None of the particles are big enough to avoid destruction and reach the ground.

What can I expect to see?

This year as many as two of the streaking flashes of light could be visible every minute given a good location away from built up areas and clear skies.

Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "We can look forward to a decent display, even though they aren't going to be raining down from the sky.

"The Perseids can be very bright and often quite spectacular.

"I think under good conditions you might see one or two a minute, probably more towards Sunday morning rather than Saturday.

"You could see none at all for a few minutes and then two or three. You might be lucky or unlucky; that's the way with meteors."

When can I see it?

The peak time for Perseid watching will be Saturday night and before dawn on Sunday but the meteors may already be making an appearance.

You'll have to say up late to see them however as the best time to spot them is after 1am.

What are the chances?

Bright moonlight during the peak time will make it slightly more difficult to see them this year.

Weather forecasts are predicting cloud this evening, Friday, but currently it looks as though the skies should be clear between 1am and 3am on Sunday morning. 

Do I need a telescope to see them?

No. Give your eyes around 20 minutes to adjust to the night sky then look up and wait.