PERSEID METEOR SHOWER: 200 shooting stars to dart through night sky

The Perseid meteor shower promises to be even more spectacular than usual this year.

Don't forget to look up!
Don't forget to look up!

The annual spectacle is now underway and will peak on Thursday night and into the early hours of Friday when up to 200 shooting stars per hour - double the usual amount - are set to dart across the night sky.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs when tiny fragments from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet collides with the Earth’s atmosphere - producing fireballs.

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NASA said this year’s show will be better than most because the gravity of Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, will pull the particles closer. Earth will pass through the middle of the comet’s dust trail instead of just grazing it.

If cloud stays away, Perseid viewing conditions should be perfect.

A Met Office spokesman urged residents to wrap up warm, go outside, lie back and look up during the early hours.

The spokesman added: “To see the meteor shower, you don’t need a telescope, binoculars or any other equipment – all you need is your eyes. “You don’t need to look in any particular direction as meteors appear randomly anywhere in the sky.”