Beyond the Weather: Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend


Beyond the Weather: Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

The best time to view this event is after midnight and before sunrise both Saturday and Sunday nights.

ASTRONOMY Ireland is asking members of the public all across the 32 counties to watch the best meteor shower of the year "The Perseids" and count how many they see every 15 minutes. But living in the Northwest means that many local elements are potentially conspiring against our view, including overcast skies, a bright moon, and smoke from surrounding wildfires.

If you're unable to stay up late on those days, try Saturday night.

If you want to catch the Perseids in all their glory, a drive to the darkest place near your home should suffice.

The Perseids can be witnessed in the northern sky whenever the meteors enter Earth's atmosphere throughout the day. People can look directly overhead to see the meteors, as long as they are in a dark area without too much light pollution.

The 2018 Orionid meteor shower will be visible from October 2 to November 7 and is expected to peak on the night of Oct. 21-22. This creates the meteor shower, or the appearance of "shooting stars".

Just bear in mind you will not see as many shooting stars this early as you would during the peak.

Perseids swiftly move across the sky at a speed of almost 40 miles per second. Tracking such meteor clusters and gaps helps astronomers better understand the scattering of space debris released by comets such as Swift-Tuttle. It orbits the sun every 133 years and was last seen in 1992 - so it won't be back again until 2126. In those cases they can actually predict that when the Earth passes through the orbital path of the comet there will be a higher than average debris field.

The meteor shower is made up of particles that crumbled away from the 26 kilometre (16 mile) wide comet as it zooms in and out of the inner Solar System.

Can I only watch the peak?

The Perseids are perhaps the most beloved of all meteor showers due to their predictability. The Perseids are best seen after 11 PM, away from city lights, and while looking at the northeastern sky. Skies will be dark enough from 10pm to 4am and the later you view usually the more you will see.

Plan on spending a few hours outside?

In summary: this weekend, check out a dark location, let your eyes adjust and look to the northeast. "The Perseids will put on a great show".