Essential Information

Royal Observatory

10 Aug 2007

Star chart courtesy of the European Space Agency The annual Perseids meteor shower reaches its peak this weekend, with 80-100 meteors per hour predicted before dawn on Monday 13th August. Annual meteor showers occur when the Earth's orbit passes through the orbit of a comet. Dust that the comet has left behind is swept up by the Earth and burns up in its atmosphere. We see these tiny particles burning up as shooting stars in the night sky. The Perseids meteor shower is a bright shower associated with comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed close to the Sun in 1992. Perseid meteors can be seen during late July and early August, with a peak around the 12th of August. To best see the meteor shower, go outside after 11pm and look for the constellation Perseus in the northeast. In clear weather, you should be able to spot a meteor every few minutes or so. Most meteors are flashes of light lasting less than a second, but some may be more dramatic and leave more persistent trails. More information about this meteor shower can be found in the Royal Observatory's Perseids fact file. If you do see some meteors, please let us know by leaving a comment.