Perseid meteor shower to light up skies of Essex and Suffolk tonight
- Credit: PA
Will you be looking out for the spectacular display of shooting stars that is expected to light up the skies over Suffolk and north Essex late tonight?
The Perseid meteor shower is due to from around 11pm into tomorrow morning, with as many as 100 meteors an hour visible.
Combined with an invisible “new moon” the astronomical display could only be wrecked by the weather, but it is hoped the clouds will clear.
Debris shed by the comet Swift-Tuttle causes the Perseids each August as the Earth passes through the remnants, which burn up in the planet’s atmosphere.
The shower is active from around July 17 to August 24 but peaks between late evening on Wednesday and Thursday morning.
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Rural areas around the two counties will be ideal to spot the fleeting bursts of light, though some of the brighter ones will even be visible in towns – especially when the street lights go off in some areas.
Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: “The thing about shooting stars is they’re a wonderful free spectacle we can all enjoy, assuming clear skies.
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“Its best to watch them from the countryside but even in town, these meteors are bright enough for a few to be visible.
“The moon is out of the way which makes a lot of difference because the sky will be much darker all night. For every bright shooting star you see there are always fainter ones, and this will make it easier to see the fainter meteors and ring up the numbers.
“The Perseids are usually fairly bright.
“Also, they tend to leave a trail, or train, behind them. You can see the train hanging there glowing in the sky for a few seconds – sometimes for several minutes – after the meteor has gone.”
Mr Scagell also urged people to keep an eye out for the International Space Station, which can be seen passing over the UK from west to south at around 10.30pm tonight and will be brighter than stars.
Meteors can appear anywhere but seem to emerge from a single point, or “radiant”. The Perseid’s radiant is in the north-east constellation of Perseus.