The spectacular Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend

 
Catherine Neilan
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The spectacular Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend (Source: Getty)

People in the UK should be able to catch an awe-inspiring sight this weekend, as the annual Perseid meteor shower hits its peak on Saturday.

The Perseids have been visible in the night sky since the end of July, with around one meteor an hour crossing the skies. From Thursday that pace will pick up, with around 15 meteors an hour visible in clear sky.

But on 12 and 13 August, astronomers predict there could be as many as 100 meteors an hour whizzing overhead.

Currently the forecast is for cloudy skies, and the moon is expected to be particularly bright this weekend, both of which could make spotting the meteors with the naked eye more difficult.

But the shower should be easiest to see from the northern hemisphere, giving Brits a good opportunity to catch this infamous annual show.

What are the Perseids?

The Perseids are pieces of debris from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle. They are named after the constellation Perseus because the direction the shower seems to come from lies in the same direction.

The shower appears at around this time every year and is one of the key highlights in the astronomical calendar because of the sheer number of meteors that can be seen. If the cloud and the moon don't ruin it for stargazers, the 2017 Perseid meteor shower is expected to be one of the best in recent years.

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What is the best time and place to see the meteors?

Brits are well placed to see the shower - especially those in rural areas. If you live in a town or city, you might want to drive out to avoid artificial lights.

But you'll have to stay up late (or get up early, depending on your perspective). The best time to see them is from 1am until the start of dawn.

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