Perseids meteor shower 2018

The spectacular Perseids meteor shower

While meteors from the Perseids have passed over Earth since the end of July and are expected to continue until late August, the ideal dates for viewing are between Saturday, August 11 and Monday, August 13, with the latter being the best of the three, Cooke says.

The Perseid Meteor shower normally peaks each year during a new moon however it will not do so again for another eight years.

Reaching its peak visibility this weekend, a number of eager stargazers were dazzled by last night's (11 August) astronomical show, where a number of attractive shooting stars and green lights lit up the sky.

So if you want a good view, look to the Northeastern sky after dark.

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The meteor shower - actually meteorites and dust burning up on entering the earth's atmosphere - can be up to 90 shooting stars per hour.

Dr Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, said: 'Unlike a lot of celestial events, meteor showers are easy to watch and no special equipment is needed, although a reclining chair and a blanket make viewing much more comfortable'.

The meteors can be traced to the Perseus constellation, from which they get their name, which will climb in the northeastern sky as the evening passes. But "Earthgrazer" meteors, which skim Earth's atmosphere and showcase long, blazing tails, are visible earlier when the radiant is low above the horizon.

But no matter if the clouds or smoke clear, "you still need to get away from the light pollution of cities", Meteorologist M.J. McDermott said. The Perseids will light up the sky with dozens of meteors an hour, peaking on Sunday, and setting up a spectacular show for stargazers.

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