Perseid meteor shower: Where to watch the Perseid meteor shower

The Perseid meteor shower takes place every year from mid-July to the end of August. This period of Perseid activity finds the meteor shower peaking over a couple of nights.

The fireball phenomenon is at its most intense when Earth crosses the path of comet Swift-Tuttle at surprising speeds.

In the UK, the meteor shower is expected to peak between the nights of August 11 and August 12.

Amateur astrologers can expect to see as many as 80 meteors hurtling across the night sky – weather permitting.

Where to see the Perseid meteor shower from the UK:

Should you decide to watch the meteors, visit somewhere quiet and dark to best experience the Perseid spectacle.

Avoid bright city lights and select somewhere with an unobstructed view of the horizon.

The next step is to allow some time to adjust your eyes to the dark.

This is easily achieved by lying down to observe as much of the dark sky as possible.

Shooting stars will eventually become visible as they appear to fire out from the Perseus constellation.

How to live stream the 2020 Perseid meteor shower:

Another option available to stargazers who fear missing-out on the Perseid shower’s peak is to watch the event live online.

Online telescope Slooh will broadcast the meteor shower on the night of August 12 and 13.

However, note Slooh memberships are required to watch the live stream.

Slooh astrophysicist Dr Paige Godfrey said: “Some meteor showers produce great shows, others really test your patience while you lay on your front lawn in the middle of the night.

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“But either way they remind us of the constant ebb and flow of the cosmos, as we get to witness the same spectacle year after year in the same parts of the sky.”

The meteor shower is touted as the most prolific of the year, with as many as 100 meteors an hour appearing some years.

The event will run through to the third week of August, and will not return until the same time next year when Earth moves across its orbit and into the comet’s debris once again.

The spectacular meteor shower also has surprising biblical connotations.

St Lawrence’s day falls on August 10 and this is why Catholics associate the shooting stars with fiery tears.

Patron saint of cooks, St Lawrence was tortured and martyred by the Romans in 258 AD during the persecution of the emperor Valerian along with many other members of the Roman clergy.

During his torture, St Lawrence was said to have been burned on a grill, and despite the extreme pain he was enduring, he supposedly quipped: “Turn me over – I am done on this side!”

As he was executed on August 10, many Catholics associate the Perseid meteor shower with St Lawrence and dub the shooting stars as the “tears of St Lawrence” as they occur at the same time each year.

Astronomy website Slooh said: “In medieval Europe, the Perseids were called the ‘Tears of St Lawrence’.

“This is because they occur near the anniversary of the death of Laurentius, a Christian deacon who was martyred by the Roman Emperor Valerian in the year 258 AD.”

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