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​Perseids Meteor Shower To Peak Tonight For People Across Globe

​Perseids Meteor Shower To Peak Tonight For People Across Globe

The Perseid meteor shower will peak tonight for UK stargazers, treating us to what is widely seen as the most prolific meteor shower out there.

The Perseids, which are caused each year by debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, have actually been active since 17 July, and will be around until 24 August. However, astronomers have predicted the nights between 12 and 13 August will be when the views are the most intense.

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Dr Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, said: "The shower will be visible all over the UK, as long as the skies are clear.

"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."

A shooting star in the skies above Northumberland from 2015's Perseids meteor shower. Credit: PA
A shooting star in the skies above Northumberland from 2015's Perseids meteor shower. Credit: PA

Mind you, while the Perseids are said be among the best of Earth's meteor showers, NASA has warned that things are a little more complicated this year.

"The Perseid meteor shower is often considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year due to its high rates and pleasant late-summer temperatures," a blog post on the NASA website explains.

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"This year's shower, however, has unfortunate circumstance of having a full moon right at the shower peak, reducing the meteor rates from over 60 per hour down to 15-20 per hour."

But NASA still reckons it'll all be worth it, adding: "But the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it will still be worth going out in the early morning to catch some of nature's fireworks."

To watch the Perseids, you're best staying up late or waking up early, as they're best seen between 2am and dawn, local time.

NASA explains that, on the night of the peak (12-13 August), you will probably only have a few minutes of dark sky between moon set and twilight, which means there won't be much time to see the Perseids.

A shooting star spotted in Germany as part of last year's Perseid meteor shower. Credit: PA
A shooting star spotted in Germany as part of last year's Perseid meteor shower. Credit: PA

You can also go out after dark, around 9pm local time, to watch them - though you won't see nearly as many as you would if you braved the early morning hours.

If it's not cloudy, pick a spot and lie on your back, looking up. You won't need any specialist equipment other than your eyes, but it helps to let your sight become adjusted to the dark (which takes about 30 minutes), as you'll see more meteors that way.

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

If all that fails, a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, AL will also be available on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook starting around 8pm ET (1am UK time) and continuing until the early hours of 13 August.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, News, space

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]

 

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