The annual Perseids meteor shower is possibly the most eagerly anticipated by astronomers. For several years now the Perseids have resulted in a great show with dozens of bright meteors being spotted per hour around the peak of their activity.
Each year as the Earth travels on its orbit around the Sun it encounters a vast swathe of cosmic dust left over by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As these tiny dust particles enter Earth’s atmosphere at great speed they burn up leaving a brief but bright trail — a shooting star!
Perseid meteors can be identified as they appear to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, hence their name. The shower takes place each year from July 14th through to August 24th with the peak in meteor numbers (the time when the Earth passes through the densest of the dust) on the evening of August 12th / morning of August 13th. The very best time to see them is the early hours of August 13th.
This year’s peak of the shower takes place during a new moon period and therefore with no moonlight illuminating the sky more of the fainter meteors will be visible.
For the best place to see the Perseids meteor shower the most important requirement is a wide open space where you can see as much of the sky as possible. If you can get away from local light pollution even better and finding a dark sky site will be well worthwhile. Even travelling only a few miles out of town would be advantageous.
If you’re interested in photography check this fantastic guide on how to photograph the Perseid meteors by expert astrophotographer Alyn Wallace.
Places to see the Perseid meteor shower
The map shows recommended stargazing locations including official dark sky sites.
Perseid meteor shower public stargazing events
The following events are taking place during the peak period 11th August to 14th August.
Perseid stargazing events
Kenley Observatory, Kenley, CR8 5EP
Astronomers from Croydon Astronomical Society plan to open their Kenley Observatory for a week observing several prominent objects including the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Opening is dependent on the weather so please contact the Society or...
Monday 6th August 2018 from 21:00pm to Sunday 12th August 2018 21:00pm
Dalby Forest Adderstone Field, Thornton-le-Dale, YO18 7LT
Tucked away in the heart of The Great Dalby Forest is Adderstone Field and home to this annual stargazing festival. Its remote location between Pickering and Scarborough is a perfect venue for Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society to hold...
Thursday 9th August 2018 from 17:00pm to Monday 13th August 2018 12:00pm
Solarsphere Astronomy Festival @ Penmaenau Farm, Llanelwedd, LD2 3RD
Solarsphere brings together astronomy and music for a festival that can be enjoyed by everyone. There'll be plenty to keep children entertained with special workshops, astronomy related activities and arts. In addition talks will be given by...
Friday 10th August 2018 from 12:00pm to Monday 13th August 2018 12:00pm
The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham, BN27 1RN
Join astronomers at the Herstmonceux Observatory for the annual peak of the Perseids meteor shower (evening 1 of 2).
Friday 10th August 2018 from 20:00pm to Saturday 11th August 2018 00:30am
Mills Observatory, Dundee, DD2 2UB
Visit the Mills Observatory for this one of a number of open days taking place throughout the Summer, for a detailed schedule see here. Attending the observatory is free and without charge however there is a small cost for planetarium shows which...
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 12:00pm to 16:00pm
Keele Observatory, Stoke-on-Trent, ST5 5BG
Every Saturday afternoon the Keele Observatory is open to the public for solar observing. See our closest star like you may never have done before! The observatory is open no matter the weather with a short tour of the facility and a chance to chat...
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 13:00pm to 15:00pm
Failand Observatory, Near Wraxall, BS8 3US
Members of Bristol Astronomical Society open up their observatory at Failand most Saturday nights if the weather forecast allows for observing -- a notice will be shown on the Bristol Astronomical Society website on the evening to indicate if the...
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 19:00pm to 21:00pm
Rose and Crown - Tooting Bec Road, London, SW17 8BH
Join the South West London Stargazers for this public event viewing the Perseids meteor shower from Tooting Common. Meet up in the Rose and Crown pub beforehand at 19:30pm.
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm
Shurdington Social Centre, Shurdington, GL51 4TB
Members of the public are invited to join Cotswold Astronomical Society for this one of their regular monthly meetings at Shurdington Social Centre. Enjoy a presentation on an astronomical subject, break for tea / coffee / chat and then go outside...
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 19:45pm to 22:00pm
The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham, BN27 1RN
Join astronomers at the Herstmonceux Observatory for the annual peak of the Perseids meteor shower (evening 2 of 2).
Saturday 11th August 2018 from 20:00pm to Sunday 12th August 2018 00:30am