Perseid meteors will light up the night skies tonight in a spectacle that is only rivalled by the Geminids in December. The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that, weather permitting, can produce up to 100 shooting stars an hour. And the good news for stargazers hoping to stay indoors tonight is you can enjoy the show from the comfort of your home.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich in London said: “The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most dramatic things to see in the night sky between July and August.”
The shower is active between mid-July and the end of August when Earth flies through the dusty orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Individual meteors will streak across the sky during this window of activity, but the peak is when the real fireworks unfold.
The Observatory said: “It is simply one of the best meteor showers of the year because it produces bright meteors and is one of the most active.”
Look out for the Perseids after midnight and in the predawn hours between August 11 and August 13.
How to watch the Perseid shower live online tonight:
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, you can enjoy the spectacle without having to leave home.
Simply hit the play button on the embedded video player above.
The stream is free to join and will feature views of the night sky above Rome, Italy.
The stream is scheduled to kick off at 11m BST (10pm UTC, 6pm EDT, 3pm PDT).
Enjoy the show from the comfort of your home
Dr Gianluca Masi, Virtual Telescope Project
Dr Gianluca Masi, head of the Virtual Telescope Project, said: “The Perseid meteor shower is back, ready to put a nice show up there.
“At Virtual Telescope, we will share its peak live, online: join and enjoy the show from the comfort of your home.”
Alternatively, you can join NASA’s Meteor Watch group on Facebook tomorrow night.
The group will broadcast live online telescope views of the night sky from Huntsville, Alabama.
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The broadcast will start at 2am BST (1am UTC, 10pm EDT, 7pm PDT).
NASA said: “Most of the time, our live stream will look pretty dark.
“A Perseid meteor will look like a streak or flash of light.
“Early morning Wednesday – 2am onwards – will be the best time to spot the Perseids, but they could show up any time during the night.
“So keep your eyes peeled, and happy stargazing.”
Incredible facts about the Perseid meteor shower:
The Perseids are produced by the debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered by astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle had.
The constellation is named after its radiant point – apparent point of entry – which sits in the constellation Perseus.
In parts of Europe, the shower is known as the Tears of St Lawrence do its peak falling near the date the Catholic saint was martyred.
The Perseids are also associated with the Roman god Priapus who was believed to fertilise the fields once a year when the shower peaked.
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