Perseid meteor shower to light up the night sky

  • By Michael Shiels McNamee
  • BBC News

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Sky watchers are expecting clear conditions throughout tonight to witness the Perseid meteor shower

Stargazers are in for a treat Saturday night when the Perseid meteor shower lights up the sky.

When debris from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle crashes into Earth’s atmosphere and burns up, the event brings dozens of meteors per hour.

This year the event is expected to peak on the night of August 12 and into the early hours of August 13.

During this period, up to 100 shooting stars are visible per hour.

The spectacle occurs around the same time each year in July and August, and can be seen all over the world – although it is believed to be clearest in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is considered one of the best astronomical events because it produces the brightest meteors and is one of the most active.

According to BBC Weather’s Billy Payne, central and eastern England can expect very long clear spells overnight and should have better viewing conditions.

“However, if you are in the Midlands, central south England, East Anglia and across the south-east you can expect more cloud in the early hours,” he said.

“Some clear spells are possible across the UK, but parts of western Britain, particularly the coasts and mountains, will see cloudy conditions due to south-westerly winds.”

It is called the ‘Perseid’ meteor shower because the meteors appear to originate from the constellation Perseus – named after a figure from Greek mythology.

Very bright meteors, meteors with long trains are also more likely to see flares.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society, observing meteor showers is easy and requires no special equipment.

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