Perseid meteor shower set to delight stargazers

Peak activity set for Wednesday night, with shooting stars at 20 times the usual rate

The weather may prove perfect to see the showers, as Met Éireann are forecasting clear weather on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Photograph: Getty Images

The weather may prove perfect to see the showers, as Met Éireann are forecasting clear weather on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish stargazers are set for an exciting week as one of the year’s biggest meteor showers, the Perseids, peaks in activity.

Wednesday night is due to have the highest level of activity, with the number of shooting stars at 20 times the figure for a usual night. Additionally, meteors will be visible at 10 times the normal frequency on Tuesday and Thursday, and at five times the usual frequency on Friday.

The Perseids will be visible in all parts of the sky, and Astronomy Ireland are calling on the public to take part in monitoring efforts. David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland’s magazine, encouraged stargazers to count the number of meteors seen every 15 minutes and report findings to the organisation. “This will help us tell if the shower is getting weaker or stronger as the years pass,” said Mr Moore said, adding “this year is particularly good for getting high numbers as the Moon will not brighten the sky”.

Space station

Anyone out on Wednesday night to view the showers will also be able to see the International Space Station (ISS) pass over Ireland. Astronomy Ireland said that the station will pass over much slower than the meteors, “almost overhead, looking like a bright star.” The ISS is expected to be visible nightly until Sunday August 16th, and Astronomy Ireland will release exact times for visibility every evening.

The weather may prove perfect to see the showers, as Met Éireann are forecasting clear weather on Tuesday night and clear spells on Wednesday night. Mr Moore said that while Tuesday and Wednesday are forecasted for peak activity, “there should be excellent displays all this week.”