How to watch the Perseid meteor shower in Britain tonight

Rosemary Collier
August 11, 2018

The Perseid meteor shower will illuminate Qatar sky from Saturday evening until Monday dawn, Qatar Calendar House (QCH) has announced.

But considering that only about 10 per cent of the United Kingdom is urban, most of us shouldn't have a problem finding a darker spot to go look at the skies from.

This year is an excellent one for the Perseids, because they will reach their maximum on a new moon weekend; without any bright moonlight, skywatchers will be able to see many fainter streaks.

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'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 shower will be especially dramatic in areas with low light pollution and after midnight, though there is a good chance of seeing shooting stars from 9.30pm onwards. The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun once every 133 years, so every August, the Earth passes through the comet's debris field. The webcast, which you can also follow here at the Slooh website, will offer live commentary and views of the annual meteor shower.

A number of planets will also be highly visible. The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but they look the brightest against the darkest sky, which is straight up.

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Perseid meteors pose no threat to Earth, as many of them burn up in the atmosphere more than 50 miles above the surface. It's a rich meteor shower, and it's steady. Under ideal conditions, we could see anywhere from 60 to 70 meteors per hour.

Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Your best bet is to find a place where there are no obstructions to your view of the horizon.

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