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Astronomical event: Perseid Meteor shower

  • 12 Aug 2019
  • 13 Aug 2019

The Perseid (Per-see-id) meteor shower is one of the highlights of many meteor hunters’ calendar due to its high hourly rate and bright meteors caused by the Earth slamming into the debris left behind by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle in July and August every year. It is called the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus. Astronomers call this point the meteor shower’s radiant.

Perseid's shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 12/13 August 2019. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 17 July to 24 August.

Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids. As pebble-sized pieces of debris collide with the Earth, they burn up at an altitude of around 70 to 100 km, appearing as shooting stars.

By determining the speed and direction at which the meteors impact the Earth, it is possible to work out the path of the stream through the Solar System and identify the body responsible for creating it. 

Observing prospects

The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 80 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. 

The North Pennines Observatory is owned and operated by the North Pennines AONB Partnership

The Observatory is currently only available for private bookings

North Pennines AONB Partnership, Allendale Village Hall, Allendale, Northumberland NE47 9PR 

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