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Shooting stars tonight

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Stargazers set sights on meteors


Shooting stars are gracing the night sky with a spectacular light display set to peak on Sunday night.


The annual Perseid meteor shower will be most apparent in the north-eastern part of the sky near the Perseus constellation.


If the skies remain clear, it will offer stargazers the best opportunity for a few years to see the Perseids.


The shower coincides with a new Moon, giving sky watchers with the dark skies needed for superb observing conditions.



"If we're lucky, on Sunday night and Monday morning we might see as many as 100 meteors an hour," said Dr Robert Massey from the UK's Royal Astronomical Society.


"But the usual caveat applies: you still need good weather."


The best viewing conditions will be where the sky is clearest and darkest. However, meteors should be visible, to a lesser degree, in cities despite light pollution and smog.


"You will see them almost wherever you are, so it's worth a look," Dr Massey added.


Both hemispheres will receive good views but the prime locations will be Western Europe and North America.


Watchers will get the best of the display from about 2200 BST (2100 GMT) on Sunday 12 August, which will peak just before sunrise on Monday 13 August.


Tiny particles


The annual Perseid showers are caused by small bits of debris, many no bigger than a grain of sand, that enter the Earth's atmosphere when our orbit passes through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet.


These particles travel at very high speeds, reaching up to 50 kilometres per second (32 miles per second), and burn up in the atmosphere.


This causes the air around them to get extremely hot, which produces the streak of light that we see.


"It's a spectacular phenomenon that everyone can enjoy. The great thing is that you don't need any equipment apart from your eyes," Dr Massey said.


"It's a laid back form of astronomy. You can go outside, look up at the sky and enjoy it. And that's really what it's about."


As an added bonus, watchers should be able to see Mars, which will be in view as a bright red dot in the eastern sky after midnight.

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Seen a few in the last 10 mins or so.


I also think theres something else up there moving around, either theres a couple of planes flying around or the little green men have started their invasion.



Knew i wasnt seeing things - http://www.heavens-above.com/main.aspx?Loc...t=19&TZ=GMT


Its the International Space Station and those pissed up astronauts.


If you click on the link and leave for a few minutes, then go back and refresh the page, youll see how quick it moves. :lol:

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