Don’t miss the Perseid Meteor Shower
Famously slaying the sea monster Cetus and rescuing the Ethiopian princess Andromeda in Greek mythology, Perseus is now immortalised as a starry constellation in the night sky above us. However, in the next few weeks or so, he’ll be raining down meteors by the score in one of the most impressive night-time spectacles of the year.
The Perseid meteor shower occurs every July and August when the Earth’s orbit around the sun intersects with the tail of debris left behind by the Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. At peak times you may be lucky to see between 60 -100 meteors an hour! This year the peak falls on the night of the 12th and before dawn on 13 August.
These meteors will look impressive as they dart across the blackness in a streak of light, but surprisingly most are around the size of peppercorns!
The best way to view them on a clear night is to find a place away from street lights, anywhere with a clear horizon within the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park ideally. Places like Walltown Country Park, Cawfields and Steel Rigg are perfect locations on Hadrian’s Wall to see them. Further north; Redesdale, the Breamish Valley and the Cheviots are suitably dark to see the best displays. Find the best places to stargaze in Northumberland National Park here.
Look towards the constellation of Perseus (use a free astronomy app such as Sky Walk (iPhone) or Star Map (Android) on your mobile device to locate it –then turn off your mobile for the rest of the night as the glow from its screen will destroy your ability to see in the dark).
Make yourself comfortable (take a deckchair, thermos flask, blankets, hats and gloves. Etc. – just in case it gets cold) and then just sit back and watch the display above. Be warned! It can become addictive and ‘just one more!’ may keep you out for hours. Enjoy!
If you are interested in keeping our skies dark, you can visit and download guidance from here.