How to watch the Perseid meteor shower in the UK

UK stargazers will be treated to the Perseid meteor shower this week (Picture: Getty)

Just weeks after the Delta Aquariids meteor shower, stargazers are set to be treated to another cosmic light display this week as Earth passes through debris left behind by a comet.

The meteors will be best viewed from the northern hemisphere, which gives the UK a prime position for spotting shooting stars.

In ideal conditions with no clouds, observers could see up to 50 an hour, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

The meteor shower is often dubbed the best of the year because of how bright and active it is.

Here’s how to watch the fantastic display in the UK.

When does the Perseids meteor shower peak?

The Perseid meteor shower is active between July 16 and August 23.

It is predicted the peak will be on the night of August 12 and stretch into the early hours of August 13 when the sky is at its darkest.

You will see the meteors best on Thursday night and Friday morning (Picture: Simon Robling/Getty Images)

How to watch the Perseids meteor shower from the UK

You do not need a telescope or binoculars to see the meteors – they can easily be seen with the naked eye.

The best way to catch a glimpse of the radiant show is away from the lights of towns, cities, buildings, and trees, and where there is a clear view of the horizon.

Although the meteors appear to emanate from the constellation of Perseus, they can appear anywhere in the sky, so try to find somewhere with the broadest view of the sky possible.

This year on the peak, the moon will be in a thin crescent phase, creating perfect viewing conditions without interference from moonlight .

Dr Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: ‘The light of the moon won’t interfere with the shower, so you stand a much better chance of seeing more meteors.

‘If there is a full moon in the sky, then you might as well be in the city because it will light up the whole sky, but this year the moon really will help us see more Perseid meteors.’

Observers have been advised to plan and check the forecast before in case the weather is unpleasant, so they can travel to a new location or go out on a different day.

The sparkling treat is set to continue over the northern hemisphere for a few days after the peak with reduced activity.

And if the weather doesn’t co-operate and visibility is poor, you can always watch a live stream of the shower via NASA Meteor watch Facebook.

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Where does the Perseids meteor shower come from?

The Perseids are associated with Comet 109/P Swift-Tuttle, which last passed near Earth in 1992.

When comets travel close to the sun, they heat up and disintegrate. If this happens in Earth’s path around the sun, they can head towards our atmosphere at high speeds.

The superheated air around the meteors glows and leaves behind trails of light and explosions in the form of fireballs.


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