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The best meteor shower of the year will be visible this week

There will be 20 times more shooting stars than a normal night on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Image: Shutterstock/Viktar Malyshchyts

Updated Aug 9th 2020, 7:29 AM

THE PERSEIDS, CONSIDERED to be the best meteor shower of the year, will be visible over Ireland in the coming days.

The shower will reach its peak activity on Tuesday and Wednesday night, 11 and 12 August.

Meteors will be visible all night from dusk until dawn, with 20 times more shooting stars than a normal night.

The Perseids will be visible to the human eye and people won’t need a telescope or binoculars.

Members of the public are being asked to count how many meteors they see every 15 minutes and send the details to Astronomy Ireland.

David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, said counting the Perseids “has real scientific value as we only know how these meteor showers develop by members of the public counting them while they view the beautiful spectacle of nature that is a meteor shower”.

‘Brilliant fireballs’ 

Moore said a clear sky will obviously help visibility “but a few clouds won’t spoil the view, especially as you have all the hours of darkness to see them and this shower is known for producing some brilliant fireballs”.

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“I remember seeing one that light up the whole countryside like daylight for a few seconds,” Moore added.

Meteors are caused by small particles, typically the size of a grain of sand, burning up high in the Earth’s atmosphere. The particles come from comets, which are giant balls of ice and dust a few kilometres in size.

The comet that causes the Perseids is known as the Comet Swift-Tuttle which orbits the Sun every 130 years.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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