The Perseid meteor show is peaking tonight, meaning it’s the best time to see the spectacular show.
The shower is one of the highlights of the ‘meteor’ calender due to the high volume and bright meteors you’ll be able to see. There may be a chance you’ll witness fireballs burning in the atmosphere too.
The Perseid (Per-see-id) meteor shower can be seen every July and August, where the Earth slams into the debris left behind by Comet 109P-Swift-Tuttle.
Its name originates from the constellation of Perseus, and astronomers call this point the shower’s radiant.
How to see the Perseid meteor shower tonight?
Stargazers can spot the show wherever they are, but there are particular things that will increase the chances of seeing them.
The days leading up to the peak are normally better than those that follow, so after today your chances may decrease.
Check the weather beforehand and try to get away from light pollution and built-up areas.
The countryside, a park or even facing away from street lights can help.
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If you do head out to a relatively dark place, give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust so you can catch a glimpse of the fainter and less distinctive meteors.
So avoid using your phone and other electronic devices that give off blue light, advises Royal Museums Greenwich.
Other advice includes finding a spot with a clear horizon, and using the naked eye over binoculars and telescopes.
When is the Perseid meteor shower tonight?
Today, (Wednesday, August 12), is the maximum rate, meaning you could see 100 meteors per hour in perfect conditions.
You’ll know what they are, as they’ll be many bright fast meteors with trains following behind.
On the days after, you may see less but the entire period is expected to last every evening until August 23.
When is the best time to see the Perseid meteor shower?
It may seem obvious, but the best time to see the Perseid meteor shower is to look up to the sky during the darkest time, and when the comet is at its highest position.
This usually occurs between midnight (12am) and the early hours of the morning (Thursday, August 13).
RMG suggest the best time tonight will be between 12am and 5.30am, so any night owls will be in for a treat.
The Perseids can be visible above the horizon, so stargazers may spot meteors as soon as the sun sets.
Therefore if you can’t stay up late you may be able to catch them before midnight.
Although, it’s best to watch the skies when the moon is below the horizon or in a crescent phase, due to the natural light pollution.
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What is special about the Perseid meteor shower?
It is one of the most active and bright meteor showers of the year.
It is also during the summer months meaning it isn’t too cold to stand out and try to watch them.
There is even a chance to see fireballs, explains the RMG, which will look like bright meteors, as well as meteors with really long trains.
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