See the Perseid Meteors Tonight

Why not take the opportunity to see one of the best meteor showers of the year? It’s happening tonight, so how best to see them.

The Perseids are tiny pieces of Comet Swift Tuttle which are swept up by Earth as it crosses the part of space where the comet previously passed. Travelling at speeds in excess of 11km/sec, these are instantly vapourised by our atmosphere and wee see them as streaks of light across the sky as they burn.

To see them best you don’t need any special equipment, just your eyes and a dark clear sky. Position yourself as far from artificial light as possible and face north-east. The meteors will be visible all night but will get more prominent as the night progresses, so the later the better. Don’t expect to see them straight away. You will usually see a meteor every few minutes so give it time and you won’t be disappointed.

The diagram above shows the radiant point (the part of the sky the meteors appear to emanate from) just above the constellation of Perseus (hence the name ‘Perseids’)