How to watch Perseid meteor shower 2021 in the UK tonight: When meteors peak – and where to see the Perseids

The annual Perseid meteor shower have become visible in the skies over the UK recently.

These meteors light up our skies every summer, and are a regular highlight of the stargazing calendar.

Here is everything you need to know about catching a glimpse.

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What is the Perseid meteor shower?

Meteors are created by comets breaking up when they get close to the sun. Some of that debris ends up in the Earth’s path around the sun, and hits our atmosphere at speeds of up to 45mps.

How to watch Perseid meteor shower 2021 in the UK tonight: When meteors peak – and where to see the Perseids

Because they are travelling so fast, the air in front of the meteor is squashed and heated to thousands of degrees. Smaller meteors vaporise, leaving behind a bright trail of light. Larger meteors can explode as fireballs.

This shower is caused by debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and appears to emanate from the constellation of Perseus, the Greek hero who beheaded Medusa.

When can I see it?

The meteors will be visible from 16 July to 23 August this summer – though the peak dates to spot them will be between 12 and 13 August when, if you are lucky, you might see as many as 150 per hour.

The darker it is, the easier they will be to see, so between midnight and 5am is the best time to go outside for a viewing.

You do not need a telescope or binoculars to see the meteors.

Tips for getting the best view

Although the meteors appear to emanate from Perseus, they can appear anywhere in the sky, so try to find somewhere with the broadest view of the sky possible – ideally an area with no tall buildings or trees, where you can see the surrounding horizon. You will need it to be a clear night.

Light pollution can also be an issue, so the further into the countryside you are, the better. If you are confined to an area with street lights, facing away from them can help.

You need to give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness, as this will help you to see the fainter meteors. Try to avoid looking at your phone for the best results.