Catch a glimpse of the Perseids meteor shower this week!
It's that time of the year again - get ready for one of the year's stargazing highlights, as the Perseids meteor shower reaches its peak on the night of August 12.
What is the Perseids meteor shower?
The Perseids meteor shower takes place every August, as the Earth passes through the stream of debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The shower is known as the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus. With a comet nucelus 26 kilometres in diameter, Swift-Tuttle is the largest object in the solar system that repeatedly passes close to Earth, which it does once every 133 years.
This is one of the year's most popular meteor showers, as it is easily visible across the entire northern hemisphere. It's been active since July 17 - once again crossing paths with the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower - but at its peak on August 12 between 3 am and 4.30 am, you should see up to 69 meteors every hour!
How to catch a glimpse of it from the Netherlands
2021 is set to be a good year for the Perseids, as a waxing crescent moon on August 12 will set in the early evening, guaranteeing dark skies. You can further improve your chances by heading out to an area with little to no artificial light (avoid big Dutch cities and try and find a cosy spot out in the countryside). Find a spot with a clear view of the sky, away from trees and tall buildings, and give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, allowing you to pick out even the fainter shooting stars.
Annoyingly, this year's peak does occur in the week. But don't worry if you can't afford to stay up that late (or get up that early) on a weeknight, as you should still have a good chance of seeing at least 35 meteors every hour on Friday and Saturday. And there's even more good news! While the Dutch weather has been cold, grey, and wet recently, things are set to cheer up this week, providing perfect stargazing conditions for all those planning to stay up to catch a glimpse of the Perseids.