The Perseid meteor shower usually arrives between mid-July and the end of August. This period of Perseid activity finds the meteor shower peaking over a single night. Under perfect conditions, the Perseids have been known to produce hundreds of shooting stars during the peak.
What time is the Perseid meteor shower?
This year, meteor experts estimate the Perseid shower will produce shooting stars between July 17 and August 24.
However, the ideal time to watch the shower is believed to be the night of its peak, when up to 100 meteors an hour grace the night sky.
Until then, you will have a chance to see individual meteors, with the numbers increasing each night.
The Perseids are anticipated to peak on the night of August 11 into the morning of August 12.
Meteor showers are typically best seen between midnight and the early hours before dawn.
This is when the skies are darkest and, weather permitting, viewing conditions are optimal.
Astronomers, therefore, recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the Perseids between midnight and 5.30am the following day.
How to see the Perseid meteor shower:
Stargazers who decide to watch the meteors at night should visit somewhere quiet and dark to best experience the spectacle.
Astrologers recommend always avoiding bright city lights and finding somewhere with an unobstructed view of the horizon.
You should also allow some time to get your eyes to adjust to the dark – between 15 and 30 minutes.
This is easily done by reclining to see as much of the dark sky as possible.
Shooting stars should then become visible as they shoot-out from the Perseus constellation.
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How to live stream the 2020 Perseid meteor shower:
Another option available to stargazers who fear missing-out on the Perseid shower’s peak is to watch the event live online.
Online observatory Slooh will broadcast the meteor shower on the night of August 12 and 13.
However, note a Slooh membership is necessary to watch the live stream.
Slooh astrophysicist Dr Paige Godfrey said: “Some meteor showers produce great shows, others really test your patience while you lay on your front lawn in the middle of the night.
“But either way they remind us of the constant ebb and flow of the cosmos, as we get to witness the same spectacle year after year in the same parts of the sky.”
Myths and legends associated with the Perseid meteor shower:
A Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer revealed how our ancestors attempted to explain meteor showers such as the Perseids.
Perseus was a mythical hero famed for decapitating the Gorgon Medusa.
After later marrying Andromeda, the pair had nine children and the word Perseids is derived from the Greferringd Perseides referring to Perseus’ descendants.
Catholics traditionally thought the Perseids were the tears of St Lawrence, due to the Perseids’ peak coinciding with when the Saint became a martyr.
The Perseids is also associated with the god Priapus, who the Romans believed fertilised the fields once a year on the date the shower peaks.
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