Star-gazers to be treated to celestial fireworks show tonight

Star-gazers to be treated to celestial fireworks show tonight
Time exposure showing a trail of a Perseid meteor against a starry sky at dusk. 

Irish star-gazers will be treated to a free celestial fireworks show tonight and tomorrow night.

Astronomy Ireland is calling on the public to help count during the Perseid Meteor Shower by filling out a form on its website.

The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers, according to Nasa, and occur with “warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view them”.

No professional equipment is needed - just the naked eye and a dark part of the sky, away from street lights.

Editor David Moore says tonight will be absolutely spectacular.

“It (the meteor shower) actually peaks early on Wednesday morning,” he said.

“And that means that, for Ireland at least, Tuesday night and Wednesday night are going to be almost the same.

“We should see about 20-times more shooting stars - or meteors to give them the correct name - than a normal night.

“So you might be hanging around for 10 minutes in the dark country sky to see one. You could be seeing two per minute tonight.”

According to Nasa, the Perseids “are considered the best meteor shower of the year”.

The meteors “frequently leave long ‘wakes’ of light and color behind them as they streak through Earth's atmosphere”.

Nasa adds that “Perseids are also known for their fireballs. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak.” They say that the best time to catch a glimpse is “during the pre-dawn hours”.

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