Spectacular meteor shower to dazzle UK skies next weekend

There could be up to 100 shooting stars an hour.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 3rd August 2023

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.

Spectacular meteor shower to dazzle UK skies next weekend / Credit: Michał Mancewicz (via Unsplash)

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.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is “one of the most dramatic things to see in the night sky” / Credit: Team Louish (via Flickr)

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”.

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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.

Featured Image – Wallpaper Flare