Stargazers and keen astronomy fans are in for an absolute treat this month as a spectacular meteor shower is set to dazzle UK skies.
Taking its name from the constellation of Perseus, where many of the meteors originate, the Perseid Meteor Shower is described as being “one of the most dramatic things to see in the night sky”, according to the Royal Astronomical Society, and is one of the highlights of many meteor hunters’ calendars thanks to its high hourly rate and bright meteors.
There’s potential for up to 100 shooting stars an hour to be seen with the naked eye.
If that wasn’t impressive enough as it is, there’s is also a high chance of seeing the brightest meteors known as ‘fireballs’, as well as meteors with long trains.
The Royal Astronomical Society explains that this showstopping astronomical event is caused by the Earth slamming into the debris that’s been left behind by the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle in July and August every year.
Despite each meteor being mostly no bigger than a grain of sand in reality, they still manage to produce an eye-catching shooting stream of light in the sky as they burn up after hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at around. 130,000 mph.
As far as 2023 is concerned, the Perseid Meteor Shower is already active and has been since 17 July, with the event expected to continue right through until 24 August – but luckily for us here in the UK, the shower will peak and be at its most spectacular next weekend on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 August.
And what’s more, is that meteor showers are known to be very easy to watch too, with no special equipment needed, so even amateur stargazers and budding astronomers can get in on the action and witness the spectacle with their own eyes – but when exactly is the best time to see the shooting stars? Where is the best place to head to? And how is best to prepare?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What’s the best way to see a meteor shower?
The most crucial thing to do is plan ahead, and check the unpredictable British weather forecast before you head out, as if the day you’ve picked to dedicate to seeing the meteor shower is overcast or just generally grim, the Royal Astronomical Society suggests finding a different location or going out on a different day.
The days leading up to the peak are usually better than the days after.
In this instance, binoculars and telescopes will restrict the size of the sky that’s visible to you, so no binoculars and telescopes are necessary.
Where’s the best place to head to?
Observers can keep an eye out for the Perseid meteor shower wherever they are, but according to the Royal Astronomical Society, there are a few certain kinds of places that will increase your chances of spotting meteors.
Meteors can appear in any part of the sky, so the more sky you can see the better.
It’s also suggested that you find an area with a clear view of the horizon and away from trees and buildings, as well as reduce the amount of light pollution in your field of view, so this could mean heading out to the countryside or a nearby park, if you can.
If not, apparently you can even do something as simple as turning your back to street lamps for a better chance at catching the action.
What’s the best time to catch all the action?
As already mentioned, the Perseid meteor shower is active between 17 July and 24 August this year, with the number of meteors set to increase every night until it reaches its peak next weekend, and then after which, it’ll tail off.
The peak falls on the night of the 12th and before dawn on 13 August, with the maximum being about three days before the New Moon this year when conditions are the most “favourable”.
The Royal Astronomical Society says the best time to see anything in the night sky is when the sky is darkest and when the target is at its highest position in the sky, so for meteor showers, this usually means between midnight and around 5:30am.
Find out more about the Perseid Meteor Shower here.
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below: