Don't miss the most spectacular show on earth this summer, the amazing Perseid Meteor Shower.
For one of the most spectacular shows on earth, head outside this weekend to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. Created from debris off the Swift-Tuttle comet, this meteor shower can be seen with the naked eye. No need for telescopes or any special equipment, just grab a couple of camping chairs, a blanket and your camera and head out into the night to observe an absolutely spectacular display of shooting stars across the sky.
Disclaimer: we know that not all of these images represent the Perseid Meteor Shower, we just think they're pretty awesome pictures.
What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
The Perseid meteor shower happens every year and is a result of the Swift-Tuttle comet dramatically coming into contact with the earth’s atmosphere. The debris of this collision causes tiny particles of dust which are often smaller than a grain of sand, to be launched into our atmosphere, alight with fiery flames. This is what causes the beautiful display of shooting stars extending across the nights sky.
Where is best to see it?
Meteor showers are obviously best viewed at night and in the darkest conditions possible with little light pollution. So the best thing to do is pack up a picnic and head out to the countryside or a National Park where you can get as far away as possible from built up areas and light pollution. You don’t want your view to be crowded by any buildings or trees so try and find an open space.
Here are our recommendations of where is best to view the meteor shower:
In general, light pollution is very minimal in all National Parks, so your nearest one will definitely be dark enough to see the stars. However, if you want to go that extra mile to make the most of the weekend's events then here are our recommendations for the best National Parks to watch the show:
- Exmoor National Park - a fabulous place to watch the meteor show as it has an official International Dark-Sky Reserve status appointed by the IDSA – perfect for a spot of star gazing.
- Lake District National Park – full of amazing view-points where you can watch this weekend’s shower. There are a whole host of places in this national park to experience this weekends events, including Windemere, Grizedale Forest and Coniston Water.
- South Downs National Park – the South Downs is one of our top recommendations for experiencing Perseid as it has a very low level of light pollution- the more darkness the better! The South Downs rolling hills make the perfect look out spots for counting shooting stars.
- Northumberland National Park – Northumberland National Park is home to Keilder Forrest which is 1,483 sq kilometres worth of Europes' largest area of protected sky. It is officially the darkest place in England and if you climb the slopes of the Black Fell you can experience the perfect look out point to see those shooting stars.
Other Places to watch the Perseid meteor shower
- Galloway Forest Park – the 300 square miles of Galloway Forest Park in Scotland is officially classed as Britain’s 'Dark Park' and is Britain’s first park of this kind. In this forest park the stars shine 50 times brighter than in a built up area or city.
- The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is another fantastic place if you’re located in Scotland or the Northern Parts of the country. Lomond Luxury Lodges provide star gazing with a difference as you can rent a lodge and watch the show from one of their hot tubs – what could be better?!
- Last but not least, pretty much any field, rural or countryside area will have low light pollution so even if you do not have access to one of the UK’s National Parks then any open space which is out in the country will be more than enough to watch the stars shoot by.
Top tips for meteor spotting
- The meteors originate from near the Perseus constellation. This is in between Cassiopeia (which looks like a big W near the Pole star) and Pleiades which is a misty patch in Taurus.
- Look north - this is where the meteors will originate from.
- The best time to spot the meteors is between 11pm and 3am as these are the darkest times of the night.
- However, the darkest periods are once the moon has set after 1am.
So what are you waiting for? #GetOutside, grab a blanket, find a field and get watching one of the most spectacular shows on earth.