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12th Aug 2018

The best meteor shower of 2018 takes place over Ireland tonight

Rory Cashin

No need for telescopes, folks!

Every year, our planet passes through a cloud of dust left behind a huge comet, and this year we’re passing through from Monday 6 August to Sunday 19 August, but the night of the best and brightest of the meteor shower hitting our atmosphere will be Sunday 12 August!

According to Astrology Ireland:

“This year Astronomy Ireland is to take part in a Nationwide Perseid Watch, where you simply count the number of meteors – or shooting stars – you see. No special equipment is needed, and you can look anywhere in the sky!

“The Perseids have been observed for around 2000 years, and are the result of Earth passing through a cloud of dust left behind Comet Swift-Tuttle. As Earth moves through this cloud, the particles fall into our atmosphere and burn up, creating spectacular streaks of light in the sky, known as meteors or shooting stars.

“This shower is named after the constellation Perseus, from which the meteors appear to come from in the sky. If you trace back the path of a Perseid, you will find that it appears to come from a point in the northeast, maybe halfway between the horizon and the zenith (the point straight above your head).”

As is always the case with these kinds of celestial events, they’ll be enjoyed much more away from heavily populated areas, as the light pollution of large cities and towns will bleach out the darkness of the sky.

Apparently, the shower will be strong enough to be seen from any part of the country without the need for telescopes or any visual assistance.