Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Science | By

Hope for clear skies in Cumbria for glimpse of meteor shower

Hope for clear skies in Cumbria for glimpse of meteor shower

The ice and dust, accumulating over a thousand years, burn up in our atmosphere to create the meteor shower.

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the highpoints in the celestial calendar, occurs each year as the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

This year's Perseid meteor shower promises to be one of the best for stargazers as a new Moon bringing darker skies means night time conditions are optimum for this potentially catastrophic cosmic event.

"The moon is very favourable for the Perseids this year, and that'll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it". The Perseids showcase more bright meteors than any other annual meteor shower. And if you thought the video above looked lovely, you'll be pleased to know that the meteor shower will hit peak visibility tonight (12 August).

The Perseid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, the region of space where the meteors will streak radially away from.

The best way to catch the shower is by travelling out of the city (if you aren't already) to a quiet spot not affected by light pollution.

Comet Swift-Tuttle has a nucleus of 26km in diameter and is packed with 30 times the kinetic energy of the asteroid strike that caused the dinosaurs to become extinct. Based on an upcoming interaction with Jupiter, it has about a 1-in-a-million chance of colliding with Earth, according to astrophysicist and science writer Ethan Siegel.

However, this isn't predicted to happen until 4479 so there is no need to panic.

When the "radiant" is highest in the sky, we'll see the most meteors. Or head to the North Cascades, overlooking famously turquoise Diablo Lake near Colonial Creek South Campground. These enter the atmosphere around 35 miles per hour, so they're a faster-moving show.

Nearly none reach the ground, but if one does, it's called a meteorite.

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