SHOOTING stars are one of the most spectacular sights nature has to offer.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 Perseid meteor shower, when it happened, and how many there are each year.
What is the Perseid meteor shower?
The Perseid meteor shower occurs every July and August as the Earth crashes through ancient debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet-tail.
The tiny sand and pea-sized bits of debris hit our atmosphere at 132,000 miles per hour, reaching temperatures of 3,000 to 10,000 degrees, and streak across the sky, offering up this spectacle.
The name Perseid is from the Perseus constellation, which is the area from which they appear to travel from in the sky.
Many scientists regard this as one of the most exciting astronomical occurrences of the year as around 70 meteors fall per hour.
2016 was an outburst year, which meant Brits could spot as many as 300 shooting stars an hour.
Perseids won this name as they appear to rain out of the constellation Perseus — named after the mythical Greek hero who beheaded gorgon Medusa.
When does the Perseid meteor shower peak?
This year the Perseid meteor shower is active between 17 July and 24 August.
During this period, the number of meteors will increase with the Perseids peaking last night, August 12.
The term “peak” is used to describe the moment where the meteors are most visible in the sky.
According to NASA, you may be able to see around 15 to 20 meteors an hour during the peak.
How many Perseids meteor showers are there?
The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event, and is one of the most beloved meteor showers of the year.
It is one of 38 named meteor showers taking place in 2019.
Meteors in annual showers come from streams of debris left behind in space by comets and typically last weeks.
Perseid meteors have been zooming across our skies since around July 17.
The next meteor shower is the Aurigids, expected to take place around August 28.
more about space
What are the best conditions?
To get the best view of the Perseids, make sure you are observing the sky on a cloud-free night.
You will be able to see the meteors with the naked eye on a clear evening.
The celestial event will be most visible in the pre-dawn hours.
For the best experience, visit a remote or quiet area to catch a glimpse of the meteors.
When you’re away from the lights of a big city, it’s easier to spot the shooting stars against the dark sky.
Look up at a height that’s approximately two-thirds of the way into the sky towards any direction to see the shower.