What time to see the meteor shower in the UK tonight and when will the Perseids arrive

Visibility of the Perseids will be disrupted by the full moon (Photo: Getty Images)

The Perseid meteor shower is lighting up the sky this week in one of the highlights of the year for stargazers.

With up to 150 shooting stars across the sky per hour, it’s one of the brightest and most active showers of the year.

There’s also a high chance of seeing fireballs, which are very bright meteors, as well as meteors with long trains – here’s everything you need to know.

When is the Perseid meteor shower coming?

The Perseid meteor shower appears in July and August each year, and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich says that in 2022 it will be active between August 17 and 24.

He advises that this year’s peak will come on the night of Friday August 12 and before dawn Saturday August 13.

The display is caused by Earth slamming into debris left by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, and the meteors appear to originate in the constellation Perseus.

Their shooting stars leave distinctive “tails” of light and color, and the Perseids are well known for their fireballs, which NASA describes as “larger bursts of light and color that can persist longer than the average meteor shower “.

There is a high chance of seeing “fireball” meteors with the Perseids (Photo: Getty Images)

How can I see the Perseids from the UK?

As with most things in the night sky, the best time to see the Perseids is when the sky is darkest, with media at this time of year. between midnight and around 5.30 am in the United Kingdom.

However, the Royal Observatory adds: “The Perseid radiant is actually always above the horizon as seen from the UK, meaning UK observers should be able to see some meteors as soon as as the sun sets.

“So it’s worth looking up in the early evening.”

Observers can keep an eye on the shower wherever they are, but a clear sky with minimal light pollution offers the best chance to see it.

More than science

Here are some general tips to give you the best chance of showering:

  • Make sure you are in a dark sky area and have an unobstructed view to the south
  • Lie on a blanket or sit in a lawn chair to ensure you have a wide view of the sky
  • Your naked eye is the best instrument for seeing meteors; do not use binoculars or telescopes as they have narrow fields of view.
  • Let your eyes adjust to the dark and don’t look at any lights, or your phone, to maintain your dark adaptation.

Can I take photos of the Delta Aquariids?

If you want to capture meteors on camera, Pixsy has put together a beginner’s guide to astrophotography here, including the following tips:

  1. Choose a higher ISO, between 1600 and 6400 – this means the camera is more sensitive to light. The exact ISO you should use will vary between cameras and conditions, so experiment by taking a set of photos and increasing the ISO each time to determine which gives you the best results.
  2. Grab a tripod – Typical exposure times for astrophotography can vary, usually between 5 and 30 seconds, and the camera must remain completely still the entire time to get the sharpest image.
  3. Use a large aperture – if you can adjust the camera aperture, look for a large setting (between ƒ/2.8 and ƒ/4). This helps maximize the amount of light entering the camera lens.
The visibility of the Perseids will be interrupted by the full moon (Photo: Getty Images)

When is the full moon in August 2022?

Unfortunately, the peak of the Perseids this year falls around the time of the full moon, which is a supermoon, and there it is bigger and brighter than usual, so the light conditions are probably not ideals

Technically, the next full moon falls on Friday 12 August, peaking at 2.36am, according to the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

However, these times mean that it will be most clearly visible on the night of Thursday, August 11.

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