Showers on the way: last chance to see meteors

Clear weather and dark night skies make this an exceptional viewing year

 

Astronomy Ireland is encouraging people to see the ongoing Perseid meteor shower, which will be visible in the Irish night sky until tomorrow.

Wednesday night saw the highest level of activity for the shower, with some stargazers seeing up to 100 shooting stars in hour-long periods.

“The reports we’re getting are almost twice as good as we expected,” said David Moore, chairman of Astronomy Ireland. “I lost count after the first 50 I saw.”

Higher activity

Astronomy Ireland’s public count has so far received hundreds of responses, indicating higher activity than was initially forecast, with visibility aided by clear weather and a darkened sky.

The annual Perseid shower results from the Earth crossing the trail of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which takes a stately 133 years to orbit the sun. The Perseid shower is particularly bright this year.

While activity has decreased after Wednesday’s peak, Mr Moore said that in the best viewing areas, shooting stars might still be up to 20 times more frequent than on an average night.

“While city dwellers will still have some to see over Friday and Saturday, those in rural areas with low light pollution will have a much better view,” said Mr Moore.

Astronomy Ireland will host a “Star-B-Q” in Roundwood, Co Wicklow, tomorrow night. The event will feature food, talks from astronomers and stargazing.