herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Stargazers in for a treat tonight as meteor shower set to light up sky

The Perseid meteor shower. Photo: Reuters
The Perseid meteor shower. Photo: Reuters

SHOOTING stars and glimmering meteor showers will cause tonight's sky to shimmer in what is being dubbed 'a natural firework display'.

The annual and prolific Perseids meteor shower will see thousands of shooting stars hurtling through the sky over Ireland.

But this year astronomers predict it will be a show like no other.

The event is also known as the 'Tears of St Lawrence' and close to 60 shootings stars will blaze through the air every hour.

The glittering and firey comets are a result of material falling from the tail of comet Swift-Turtle, which passed Earth in 1992.

Val Dunne, vice-president of the Irish Astronomical Society said that Irish stargazers are in for a real treat tonight.

And they don't need any high-tech gadgets to witness the shower.

 

Marvel

"It's all about encouraging people to simply look up with their own eyes and marvel," Val said.

"At the moment, the weather reports look favourable.

To catch a glimpse of the star-studded shower, stargazers should wrap up warm and look skyward this evening or in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

The Perseids meteor shower lasts for around two weeks. Clearer skies later in the week could make for better viewing, but the shower will be at its most active tonight.

"The best way to see the meteors would be to look to the north eastern sky," says meteor expert John Flannery.

"Even if it is cloudy, remaining patient for half an hour should give enough time for people to really appreciate the shower."

The meteors will hurtle through Earth's upper atmosphere at 59km per second, the glittering stars and comets will slowly peter out by August 20.

hnews@herald.ie

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