Sky enthusiasts have a treat in-store for them tonight as the much-anticipated Perseid meteor shower arrives.
The Perseid meteor shower 2019 is already underway, but fear not if you haven’t noticed – it’s the peak you want to watch out for.
Those who look up to the sky will be able to see shooting stars as well as particularly large chunks known as fireballs.
Every July to August, Earth passes through the debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle during its orbit.
Due to this we are treated to one of the brightest and most active meteor showers in the lunar calendar.
When to watch the Perseid meteor shower:
The peak of the dazzling light display will take place between August 12 to 13.
The shower is usually active between July 17 and August 24, but the number of meteors peaks in mid-August.
Unfortunately Brits will need to be up in the early hours of the morning to watch the fireballs fall.
The best time to watch them will be between midnight and 5.30am, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
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“The radiant of the Perseids is actually always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets”
Royal Observatory Greenwich
They said: “The radiant of the Perseids is actually always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets.
“Therefore, it is worth looking up in the early evening.
“It is always favourable to try and spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it will act as a natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.”
During the peak sky enthusiasts should be able to see around 80 shooting stars every hour.
What is the Perseid meteor shower?
The Perseid, pronounced per-see-id, meteor shower is known for its high rate and bright meteors.
It is called the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus.
The meteor shower is caused by the debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.
The Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by our planet.
It measures a massive 16 miles, and last passed by Earth in 1992.
The next time it will pass the planet will be 2126.
How to watch the Perseid meteor shower:
Skygazers can watch the meteor shower with the naked eye, but there are certain places which will increase your chances of seeing them.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich recommends reducing light pollution by heading out to the countryside or a park.
Give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the light.
Find an area with a clear view of the horizon, and keep away from trees and buildings.
The Royal Observatory said: “Binoculars and telescopes are not necessary as they will restrict the size of the sky that will be visible to you.’