Perseid Meteor Shower To Put On Brilliant Show This Weekend

James Marshall
August 10, 2018

The Perseids are a result of the Earth's orbit, when it travels through the cloud of debris caused by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

The shower is expected to peak on the night of Sunday August 12, though Saturday and Monday will also offer excellent views.

While a falling meteorite can be seen any night of the year, it's this weekend when the sky puts on a show as the Earth passes through the stream of the comet. The number will then start to diminish, though higher-than-average meteor activity associated with the Perseids should be visible through August 24.

The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus because that's where the point from which they appear to originate, called the radiant, is located.

Anyone who was disappointed by the brightness of the almost full moon obscuring the Perseid meteor shower a year ago will have a chance to turn their stargazing luck around this month.

The Perseid meteor shower will burst into light throughout the month of August - but it's predicted to be at its best this weekend, according to NASA.

Such an adjustment occurs every 11 years or so, when Jupiter makes its closest approach to the Swift-Tuttle debris cloud, at a distance of about 160 million miles (257 million kilometers).

Bill Cooke - NASA meteor expertHow many meteors will we see?

Lucky observers may see the occasional meteor sailing across the sky for several seconds, leaving behind a trail of glowing smoke. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year's Perseid meteors.

This year there will be favourable viewing conditions.

Patience is also a virtue, with shooting stars tending to appear in clusters, followed by a lull.

You will be in for a treat as this means roughly one per minute. But, keep your head up and eye to the sky, you might catch a glimpse of a few shooting stars in the days leading up to or days following the peak.

The beauty of meteor-watching is that you just need your eyes. However, this year with a dark clear sky, it's possible to see an unbelievable light show.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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