Thursday night will be prime viewing for the Perseid meteor shower, a cosmic event that lights up the sky every August.

According to NASA, this year's display could be especially spectacular. This year, forecasters are predicting an "outburst" -- a meteor shower with more meteors than usual.

Under "perfect conditions," that could mean a shower of up to 200 meteors per hour, NASA says.

Where to watch

Long Islanders eager to see the rapid stream of meteors light up the night sky can head to three state parks staying open for the cosmic display. 

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said the parks will stay open during nighttime hours on the evening of Thursday Aug. 11, 2016, with peak viewing between 11:00 p.m. on Thursday until dawn the next morning. There will be no charge, but stargazers must remain near their vehicles, the office said.

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The three parks will remain open and their prime viewing areas are:

  • Jones Beach State Park, West End 2
  • Montauk Point State Park, Upper Parking Lot
  • Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park, Field 3

When to watch:

NASA recommends going outside between midnight and dawn on the morning of Aug. 12, and giving your eyes about 45 minutes to adjust to the dark. From there, it's pretty simple, according to NASA: "Lie on your back and look straight up." On Long Island, look to the northeast. Meteor showers may also be visible overnight on Aug. 12-13.

What to bring:

The State Office of Parks recommends bug spray and a chair that reclines. Binoculars aren't necessary.

How to watch inside:

If you want to beat the heat or cloudy skies impede your view, NASA will be streaming a live broadcast of the meteor shower on Ustream, overnight on Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, beginning at 10 p.m. EDT.

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