Thursday August 11th will see the peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower and this year you see even more meteors. The shower, which usually supplies between 50 to 100 meteors per hour, could result in a spectacular 200 meteors per hour due to Earth being nearer the centre of the dust trail created by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet orbits the Solar System every 133 years and as it does it leaves a trail of debris in its wake. When Earth crosses this debris trail, many of the dust particles enter Earths atmosphere and burn up, causing the familiar meteor trails. This particular shower is named Perseids because the meteors appear to come from a point in the sky in the constellation of Perseus, near the W-shape of Cassiopeia. The point from which they radiate is called the “radiant” and the shower takes its name from the constellation.
To see the Perseids, just go outside from midnight and scan the skies to the North-East, near Cassiopeia, and wait. Hopefully you will see a few. The best thing to do is wrap up warm and lie on a Sun bed with a hot flask of tea or coffee!
If it is cloudy, you can see live meteor hits here on our website or look at the UK Meteor Watch site for the latest camera images. http://www.ukmeteorwatch.co.uk/meteors