Perseid meteors: will you be able to see them?
It’s that time of the year when all eyes are on the night skies, with many hoping to catch a glimpse of the annual Perseid meteor shower.
The Perseids make an appearance each year, as earth passes through debris shed by the Swift-Tuttle comet.
Activity of the meteor shower takes place between 17 July and 24 August, but peaks during the night of Wednesday 12 August, between late evening and the early hours of the following morning.
During this spell of peak activity, around 100 meteors or more may be seen every hour for those who are patient enough to wait.
New moon means a clearer view
As with all astronomical phenomena, the general rule of thumb is that the darker the skies, the more easily visible they become.
So, as you might imagine, rural areas, away from the light-polluted cities, will offer the darkest skies and better clarity of viewing.
The Perseids are normally pretty bright and tend to shoot across the sky leaving a trail behind them that has a definite glow.
In addition to the Perseids, the International Space Station will be passing overhead at 10.30pm on Wednesday evening, offering another thing to watch out for.
Will there be clear skies?
The latest cloud forecast for Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday morning offers mixed fortunes for the chances of spotting the meteor shower.
At the moment, it looks like there’ll be some cloud across southern parts of England and Wales, along with north west Scotland, meaning that you’ll have to look harder to spot anything, as a full view of the sky is unlikely.
However, for the rest of the UK, it looks like there’ll generally be clear skies, offering a great chance to spot some shooting stars.
Although the peak of the activity is tomorrow night, it is still worth looking up tonight and on Thursday night, as there will probably still be enough activity to catch a glimpse.