Perseid Meteor Shower 2016: When you’ll be able to see shooting stars in Norfolk
- Credit: PA
Keen stargazers will have the opportunity this week to witness the most famous of all meteor showers, The Perseid meteor shower, which is set to be one of the best shooting star viewing opportunities of the year.
If you've ever wanted to see a shooting star, now's your chance as the Perseid Meteor shower is set to peak this week, with potentially more than 100 meteors soaring through the sky per hour on August 11 and 12.
The Perseid meteor shower takes place each year through July and August and is the result of particles falling from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years and was first seen in 1862.
The trail of particles forms meteors, or shooting stars as they are also known, which heat up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere creating tails of light across the sky. These specific meteors travel at a speed of 132,000 miles per hour and are called Perseids due to the way in which they appear to streak away from the Perseus Constellation.
Astronomer Bill Cooke, from NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has said: 'Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12. Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour.'
The last Perseid outburst occurred in 2009, making this meteor shower an extremely special cosmic display.
The Met Office advises that the best time to see the shooting stars is 'late evening and into the hours before dawn', but have also said that some will be seen in the early evening and that there will be good meteor rates on August 13 and 14 as well.
Telescopes and other equipment are not needed for the meteor shower, however once outside it may take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust properly to the darkness.
Experts advise heading out of towns and cities where light pollution may make it difficult to watch the shower. Members of the Norwich Astronomical Society on Facebook have suggested locals head to areas such as Mousehold Heath or the North Norfolk Coast for the best views.
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• The Perseid meteor shower began on July 17 and is set to continue until August 24.