Stargazers rejoice! The Perseids Meteor Shower reaches its peak visibility this week in the skies over the UK, and this means one thing: a huge increase in the popularity of staring at the night sky.
The Perseids shower happens every year around the middle of August, when the Earth passes through the tail end of the path of the comet Swift-Tuttle, and the debris falls into our atmosphere. The rocks and particles burn up as they enter, creating bright streaks of light that we see as shooting stars. The best part this year is around August 11-12.
It’s particularly visible this year as the new moon is on August 14 – so, assuming cloud cover is favourable, and you’re in a dark place with minimal light pollution, you could be in for a show.
I ventured out to take some photographs of it over Llandudno, North Wales – some that I would like to share with you.
I went to the Great Orme Summit Complex – an unlit car park on the top of a 207 metre high rock. Looking out to sea should minimise the light pollution, and it’s close to my home, so easy to get to.
There were a lot more planes flying overhead than meteors at first, but as the show got underway, they started to even out.
This is when the International Space Station passed over. I made sure to wave.
Mostly, it was faint meteors, visible mainly due to the camera. If you were in a place with little to no light pollution, like a desert or the Australian outback, then it would be very visible and the sky would be dancing – but as it is, even in dark parts of North Wales, you can see clearly how much light pollution there still is in the above photograph. South Wales’ Brecon Beacons is a dark sky reserve, but I couldn’t get there.
Here’s a few more shots.
And, as it was getting late, and I was getting tired, I was thinking of packing away – but as they kept on coming, I decided to keep going – and here’s the result. A great, bright meteor, shot looking North East over Llandudno.
Much better than the red dots of planes going over (although, yes, I like taking photographs of planes!)
So, all-in-all, a good night for the meteors.
And some good photographs to go away with for me.
I’ll do my best to get out again tonight! Now, to bed!