Catch a shooting star as the Perseids meteor shower peaks tonight
Prepare yourself for a show, as the Perseids meteor shower - the second celestial spectacle of the summer and one of the stargazing highlights of the year - peaks this evening on August 12.
Perseids meteor shower to peak on August 12
Taking place annually in August, the Perseids is one of the year’s most popular meteor showers because it’s easily visible across the entire northern hemisphere. As the Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, stargazers could be treated to the sight of up to 100 shooting stars per hour - as long as the German weather cooperates.
The shower is known as the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus. It has been active since July 17 but reaches its peak on August 12 between 3 am and 4.30 am - and with the Delta Aquariids still active in the background, those who wait up have a good chance of catching a glimpse of some spectacular bursts of light.
How to catch a glimpse of a shooting star
The good news is that the weather conditions look good, with the German Weather Service (DWD) predicting only light cloud cover on Thursday and Friday night, and mild temperatures of around 12 to 19 degrees. On top of that, a waxing crescent moon will set in the early evening on Thursday, guaranteeing dark skies.
For the best chance of catching sight of a shooting star, get yourself away from artificial sources of light - that means, get out of the city or head to one of its bigger parks - and find somewhere with a wide, unobstructed view of the sky. Keep your eyes off your mobile phone, as it will take your eyes some time to get adjusted to the darkness and into star-spotting mode.
If you aren’t able to stay up that late on a weeknight - let’s face it, some of us do have to work the next day - then you’ll be delighted to hear that the stargazing conditions will remain good into the weekend, and the Perseids normally delights us with a good number of shooting stars either side of its peak.