This weekend, sky conditions will be almost perfect to catch a glimpse of shooting stars during one of the year’s best celestial shows.
Widely considered one of the best celestial events of the year, the Perseid meteor shower is already lighting up skies in the Northern Hemisphere and building to its spectacular peak this weekend.
As the sky is going to be particularly dark this weekend, this year’s show is likely to be one you don’t want to miss. The Perseids could produce up to 100 meteors per hour in prime conditions, says NASA. Though these shooting stars have been active since 14 July and will remain visible until 1 September 1, they peak this weekend (12 and 13 August) with the highest rate of meteor activity.
The Perseid meteors - tiny rocks and ice (only about the size of a pea) left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle - zip across the sky at 37 miles per second, or about 133,000 miles per hour. The friction between these fast-moving objects and Earth’s atmosphere causes them to heat up and burn, appearing as awesome streaks of light to observers on the ground.
As long as you can find a cloudless, dark sky away from the artificial glow of city lights and street lamps, the meteors should appear very clearly. Look north east and enjoy!