Published: Mon, August 14, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

Perseid Meteor Shower Lights Up Irish Skies

Perseid Meteor Shower Lights Up Irish Skies

The annual event, which takes place in July and August, reached its peak on Saturday with the chance to see up to 100 meteors per hour.

Keep your eyes to the sky this weekend, there will be quite a show as "Perseid Meteor Shower" hits its peak.

Some media reports said that this year's Perseid show is the "brightest shower in recorded human history", a speculation denied by Bill Cooke, lead of Meteoroid Environment Office, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

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Each meteor is only around the size of a grain of sand, but leaves a striking trail as it enters the earth's atmosphere and burns up to nothing. You'll still be able to see meteors following moon rise but the number of "shooting stars" you spot won't likely be as high.

The Perseids were visible in all parts of the sky from midnight until around 4am.

The Swift-Tuttle comet orbits the sun every 135 years but at nearly 90 degrees to the orbit of the Earth. They are named after the constellation Perseus because the direction the shower seems to come from lies in the same direction.

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To get the best view of the Perseids, make sure you are observing the sky on a cloud-free night. Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth; its nucleus is about 26km wide. "Previous year it was a lot more than that" said Dan Ruby, Fleischmann Planetarium Director.

"The Perseids can be very bright and often quite spectacular".

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