Shropshire Star

Star Witness: Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most stunning celestial events in the astronomer's calender, and this year is set to be one of the biggest meteor showers in recent history when it lights up the skies of Britain this week.


The shooting stars are due to peak on Friday, with 80 or more of the meteors streaking across the sky every hour. Some experts predict the frequency could be double that figure.

This year's spectacle will be more dramatic than usual as the Perseids reach the high point in their 12-year activity cycle.

The meteors consist of particles, most no bigger than a grain of sand, shed by Comet Swift-Tuttle that enter the Earth's atmosphere at 37 miles per second and burn up.

Planet Jupiter has shifted the debris stream so that more of it lies in the Earth's path, boosting the meteor count.

While the spectacular shower of shooting stars officially started on 17 July and runs until 24 August, it will peak between Thursday 11 and Saturday 13 August.

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