Perseids meteor shower

The Perseids meteor shower is now underway. It will peak in mid August (evening  12th/morning 13th), so there is plenty of time to look out for them when the skies are clear. The shower will actually be active now until the 26th August.

The Perseids  shower is caused when the Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift Tuttle, which has left a dusty trail. The dust left by the comet burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere giving us a meteor shower.  Comet Swift Tuttle last passed by the Earth in 1992, and is due again in 2126.

The Perseids get their name from the constellation of Perseus, which is the part of the sky where the meteors appear to originate from. You can find online star charts, such as this one to identify where Perseus is in the sky.  The darker your sky, ie less light pollution, the more meteors you will see.  At it’s peak the Perseids shower can average over 100 meteors per hour. You will need to be wrapped up warm and  sitting comfortably (deck chairs are good so you don’t get a stiff neck!)  to observe meteors. There is no need for any optical aid such as binoculars – just your eyes will do! If you get a chance to observe them (especially at their peak), why not count how many you can see in an hour?

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