Don't miss this spectacular meteor shower over Spain
The Local · 10 Aug 2016, 12:46
Published: 10 Aug 2016 12:46 GMT+02:00
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The shower has been active since the 13th of July and will continue until the end of August. But activity will peak this week, when the best stargazing expected on the nights of 11th and 12th of August.
"This year, instead of seeing about 80 Perseids per hour, the rate could top 150 and even approach 200 meteors per hour," predicted NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.
Stay up late or even rise early as some of the best showings occur just before dawn.
The meteorite shower is visible across the northern hemisphere but will be especially good in southern Europe.
Find a place as far away from light pollution as possible so head to wide open spaces away from the city. Mountains and beaches are perfect. Then face northeast and enjoy the show.
The shooting stars are visible to the naked eye so no need for binoculars or a telescope but allow yourself to become accustomed to the darkness which usually takes around 20 minutes. And have patience as the shower comes in spurts - nothing for a while and then a sudden flurry of activity.
What it is:
In Spanish the phenomenon is known as Lágrimas de San Lorenzo - the tears of St Lawrence – because the best viewing nights often occur around the feast day on August 10th of the Spanish saint martyred in 258 AD.
Shooting stars are caused by tiny flecks of comet hitting the earth’s atmosphere. The Perseids occur annually when the orbit of Earth crosses into the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle.
The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus because that is where the meteors seem to originate from when looking up at the sky.