Perseid meteor shower tonight: What time and how to see the huge bright FIREBALLS over UK again

THE Perseid meteor shower is set to peak this evening, meaning you could see dozens of bright fireballs every hour.

The celestial event happens every August when Earth crosses paths with debris left behind from Comet Swift-Tuttle.

In 2020, the peak is happening around August 11, 12 and 13.

The meteors appear to radiate from the tip of the Perseus constellation, hence their name.

To see them at their brightest though, look in the late evening tonight and into the early hours of the morning on August 13.

The best time to watch will be from midnight to 5:30am.


You'll need to hope for clear skies and look a few hours before sunrise if you want to make out the faintest of meteors.

The Moon shouldn't be too bright at this time of the month so that will work in the favour of stargazers.

Typically, the shower displays around 60 meteors an hour but you could see up to 100.

You'll need to be in a dark area like the bottom of a garden and try to avoid light pollution.

Anna Ross, a Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer, told the PA: “During the peak night of the shower, you will be able to find it in the north-east of the sky, getting higher throughout the night."

There are many phone apps that can help you locate constellations in the sky.

Once you've used your phone you'll need to give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark again.

A typical Perseid meteor is said to travel at 133,200 mph.

They burn up in our atmosphere and almost none of them hit the ground.

If they do they'll then be called a meteorite.

What's the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?

Here's what you need to know, according to Nasa…

  • Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
  • Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
  • Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it'll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
  • Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn't vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth's atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
  • Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)

 

In other space news, the Moon and Mars will be making a close approach towards each other at the end of this week.

Elon Musk has admitted to praying for a safe landing for the Nasa astronauts his SpaceX company just brought back to Earth.

And, scientists have traced mysterious radio signals detected on Earth to a dead star within our Milky Way galaxy.

Have you ever watched a meteor shower? Let us know in the comments…

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