Perseid meteor shower to reach peak over Britain
Up to two meteors will be visible every minute over the British countryside on Saturday night as the annual Perseid display reaches its peak.
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent
5:56PM BST 10 Aug 2012
The meteors, which appear when particles of space dust collide with our atmosphere, will be visible as bright streaks across the night sky eminating from the Perseus constellation to the north.
The Perseid shower, which happens each August, began on Wednesday night but will reach its most active period on Saturday with thousands of meteors expected to be seen over the coming evenings.
After midnight, as the planet turns towards the stream of dust left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, as many as 90 meteors could be visible each hour from areas unspoiled by light pollution.
Younger readers should also be able to spot meteors after dark at an earlier stage of the night, but they will only pass by about half as regularly as in the early hours.
Sky at Night magazine advises readers to find a site away from streetlights – preferably in the countryside where the sky is darker – and avoid facing the moon.
After allowing 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, the best place to look is 20 to 40 degrees away from their apparent source in the Perseus constellation, a Y-shaped collection of stars in the northern sky.
Although the meteors will seem to be bursting away from Perseus at different angles, they actually run parallel to one another along the path of their parent comet, Swift-Tuttle.