If you have trouble sleeping in the heat this weekend – potentially reaching 32 C on Sunday – seek comfort in the fact that you might spot the stunning Perseid (Per-see-id) shower.
The display begins on July 16 and will increase in intensity until August 12, then decrease around August 23.
Even though each meteor is typically no larger than a grain of sand, they still produce an eye-catching stream of light across the sky as they burn, hitting the atmosphere at around 130,000 mph.
They are produced each year when the Earth plows the dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle and can reach scorching temperatures of between 1,648 ° C (2,998.4 ° F) and 5,537 ° C (9,998.6 ° C). F).
Royal Museums of Greenwich (RMG) a has compiled a guide for those hoping to take part in stargazing, with the timing of “one of the most dramatic things to see in the night sky” perfect for young people who may be allowed to stay up late as is case during their summer vacation.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Don’t keep your eyes on your phone – giving your eyes time to adjust to the dark will help you spot some of the fainter meteors.
- Don’t be fooled by binoculars – they will limit the size of the sky you can see, just like telescopes.
RMG describes the Perseid rain – named because the meteors seem to come out of the constellation Perseus, after the hero of Greek myths – as “quite simply one of the best meteor showers of the year.”
According to NASA, the Perseids are among the heaviest meteor showers humans can observe, with 50 to 100 meteors seen per hour.
They are also known for their fireballs – larger explosions of light and color that can linger longer than an average meteor streak.
NASA explains, “This is because the fireballs originate from larger particles of cometary matter. ”