Luxury camping in Wales goes hand-in-hand with spending your evenings gazing up at the stars and if you like the sound of marrying both of these things together in your life then we have a date for you to book into your diary this summer for a sight of some shooting stars that’ll truly amaze you!
An annual occurrence, from roughly July 17 to August 24, our beloved little home we call Earth crosses the orbital path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which is the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.
The best time to capture a glimpse of this amazing phenomenon here in the UK has been earmarked for next week (10-16 August).
With this in mind here is a quick rundown on all you’ll need to know:
Just what are Perseid meteor showers?
These amazing shooting stars from the comet which possesses an orbital period of around 130 years, are a result of debris falling away from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle which is bursting into our atmosphere.
Meteors, commonly referred to as ‘shooting stars’, are the effect of small particles, in some cases as small as a grain of sand, entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds in the region of 130,000mph, and consequently lighting up the night sky with fast-moving, and often awe-inspiring streaks of light.
In this instance, the material consists of tiny space debris from the tail of Comet 109 P/Swift-Tuttle. The last time this particular comet passed near the Earth was some 23 years ago, in 1992.
The Perseids get their name from the constellation Perseus. This is due to the fact that the shower of meteors seems to have originated from a ‘radiant’ point located in the same direction as the constellation of Perseus. If you are a keen astronomer you can look out for this constellation in the north-eastern part of the sky.
When’s the best time to watch in the UK?
This year’s shower will be visible from around July 17 until August 24. However, for the majority of this period of time, only a handful of meteors per hour will be observable. From the UK the optimum time to see the Perseids shower is expected to be on the evening of Wednesday August 12 running into the morning of Thursday August 13.
Is the Moon’s light likely to get in the way?
The long and the short of it is, no, not really. The Moon is going to be 28 days old at the point of peak activity, and will therefore offer minimal intrusion for viewing. The shower’s radiant can be witnessed from 10pm – 11pm local time onwards. After this time it will gradually gain altitude throughout the night.
Finding a prime viewing spot
The greatest locations to view as many meteors as possible is not at the radiant itself. Rather, you should look at any dark patch of sky about 90° away from it, because it is at a distance of roughly 90° from the radiant that meteors will characteristically appear at their brightest.
5 fun facts about meteor showers
1. Meteors often fall to Earth during the day, it’s just that we can’t see them doing so.
2. It would take an exceptional occurrence to see a meteorite strike a human being. It’s far more likely that it will fall into one of our oceans.
3. The earliest record of the Perseids meteor shower can be found in Chinese annals from 36 AD.
4. Two meteor showers are the result of debris shed by asteroids. The Quadrantids are very likely caused by debris from the minor planet 2003 EH1. Whereas the Geminid meteor shower comes from debris shed by asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
5. The Orionid Meteor shower, which can be observed in late October each year, is formed by dust and debris left behind by the passage of Comet 1P/Halley.