Perseid meteor shower to light up night skies

Starwatch: the Perseids – our most reliable meteor shower

Where skies are clear, the Perseid meteor shower should be visible across the United Kingdom from around midnight until 5.30am, according to Royal Museums Greenwich.

The meteor shower is widely considered to be the best one of the year because of the brightness and speed of the meteors as well as the optimal time of year for outdoor viewing. Meteorologists advise us that the best time to watch the Perseids is with a few hours before dawn because the moon will be low in the sky and will produce less light. The almost full moon will wash out fainter meteors, but the fireballs and brighter streaks will still be visible.

The Perseid meteor showers will be gradually getting stronger until they hit their peak during the night of August 12 - 13.

Cloudy skies and a bright moon will combine to make it hard, if not impossible, to see the Perseid meteor shower tonight. "Up to 100 meteors per hour will occur during the peak night", AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said of the annual shower. Meteor showers are associated with the debris from a space body, generally a comet.

August 12 midnight to the next early morning of August 13.

Stargazers are in for a treat on Monday and Tuesday, when the annual Perseid meteor will reach its peak. The shower is produced by the dusty debris from the 109P/Swift-Tuttle, a comet that last came into the central solar system in 1992.

Dozens of meteors and fireballs should be visible to the naked eye as they pass above Earth.


"Unlike a lot of celestial events, meteor showers are easy to watch and no special equipment is needed, although a reclining chair and a blanket make viewing much more comfortable".

You're best off staying off your phone too, as looking at devices with bright screens won't help your night vision.

Not only does the shower peak during the warm nights of mid-August, but it boasts an impressive number of meteors, second only to the Geminids in December.

NASA said it will also be broadcasting the Perseids live from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page starting at 8 p.m.

David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, said: "This has real scientific value as we only know how these meteor showers develop by members of the public counting them while they view the handsome spectacle of nature that is a meteor shower".

Perseid meteors appear to radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus, which rises in early evening and climbs two-thirds of the way to the zenith as twilight starts to paint the sky.

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