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The Perseid meteor shower is a highlight of the celestial calendar and this year has been active from the 17th July to 24th August.

cropped Perseid radiantSome countries having already been treated to some spectacular views but the peak in the UK is expected tonight.

Clear skies permitting, the spectacle should be visible from midnight until 5.30am tomorrow morning.

Even though each meteor is mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, they still produce an eye-catching shooting stream of light in the sky as they burn up upon hitting the atmosphere at 36 miles per hour.

They are produced each year when the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, and can reach scorching temperatures of between 1,648C and 5,537C.

Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) has compiled a guide for those hoping to take part in some star-gazing, with the timing of the shower perfect for youngsters who can afford a late night during their summer break.

Head into the countryside - you should reduce the amount of light pollution in your field of view, so consider going out into nature or a local park if you live in a built-up area.

Keep your eyes off your phone - giving your eyes time to adjust to the dark will help you catch a glimpse of some of the fainter meteors.

Do not rely on binoculars - they will restrict the size of the sky that will be visible to you, as will telescopes.

RMG describes the Perseid shower - named because the meteors appear to dart out of the Perseus constellation, after the hero of Greek myths - as "simply one of the best meteor showers of the year".

The Met Office forecast for Calne tonight is:

It will be mainly dry with clear spells overnight, but a few heavy showers are likely in places. Temperatures will drop quickly, and it will be cold by morning. Minimum temperature 7 °C.

 

 

 

 

 

credit: SkyNews 2019