Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

We're livestreaming the Perseid meteor shower

We're livestreaming the Perseid meteor shower

Patience is also a virtue, with shooting stars tending to appear in clusters, followed by a lull. The best time to view is after midnight each night.

According to Jolene Creighton at Quarks to Quasars, the meteors you'll be able to see during the meteor shower's peak each hour will be blasting into Earth's atmosphere at speeds of around 209,000 kilometres per hour (130,000 miles per hour).

While you can see the glowing pieces from July 14 through August 24, the peak is only over a few nights, from August 11th to the 13th.

The meteors can be traced to the Perseus constellation, from which they get their name, which will climb in the northeastern sky as the evening passes.

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During the maximum, or peak, Sunday night and early Monday morning, it could be possible to catch as many as 110 meteors in an hour, or almost two per minute on average.

"All people have to do is count how many "shooting stars" (meteors is the correct term) they see every 15 minutes and send them to Astronomy Ireland's website www.astronomy.ie that night or the next day".

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the high points in the celestial calendar, occurs each year as the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. But you don't have to look that direction to see the show - the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky overhead.

Every year, in mid-August, Earth passes collides with particles spread along the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

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So if you're lucky enough to have a chance of catching the Perseid meteor shower, it sounds like you'll be in for a spectacular night of skywatching.

The comet whose tail creates the Perseus shower is called 109P/Swift-Tuttle, and is named after the US astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, who discovered it in 1862. What's more, the illuminating display is one of year's brightest, too.

If you'd like a reminder, log in to your YouTube account and click "set reminder" on the feed ahead of time to receive an email 30 minutes prior to the broadcast start.

The shooting stars will look like streaks of light across the sky. They were there, you just couldn't see them then.

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As long as they are not obscured by skies, all you need to do is find a big open space with minimal light pollution.

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