Around midnight best time to see dramatic meteor shower, forecasters say

Around midnight best time to see dramatic meteor shower, forecasters say
A dramatic meteor shower is set to occur on Saturday evening (Danny Lawson/PA)
PA Archive/PA Images - Danny Lawson

Around midnight is the “best time” to see a dramatic meteor shower in the UK, forecasters say.

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the highlights of the year for many sky gazers due to its high hourly rate and bright meteors, caused by the Earth slamming into the debris left behind by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle in July and August every year.

As the skies turn dark during Saturday evening and into the early hours of Sunday morning, up to 100 shooting stars could be seen an hour.

SCIENCE Perseids(PA Graphics)PA Graphics/Press Association Images - PA Graphics

Central, southern and eastern parts of England will be the best places to watch it, according to the Met Office, despite there being showers and clouds.

However, it will be more cloudy in the north and west of the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, where rain will be heavier.

Marco Petagna, of the Met Office, said: “There’s not a very bright moon, so when there are clear spells there’s a good chance of seeing them.

“Even in the south and east you’ll probably need to be out for a while to allow clearer slots to come across.

“They tend to be quite bright and they can appear almost anywhere in the sky.

“The best chance is probably around midnight, so the middle of the night, from 11pm to 2am.”

It is called the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus.

The shower is considered one of the best of the year because it produces bright meteors and is one of the most active.

There is also a high chance of seeing fireballs, which are very bright meteors, as well as meteors with long trains.

According to the Royal Astronomical Society, meteor showers are easy to watch and no special equipment is needed.

Experts suggest it is better to try to spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it acts as natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.

The shower will continue until August 24.

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