Star-struck astronomers capture images of of meteors lighting up the sky in annual cosmic display

10:48 • 13.08.13



The Perseid meteor shower reached a peak yesterday with up to 60 shooting stars an hour in the UK.


Amateur astronomers were able to capture stunning images after they were treated to incredible views of the annual cosmic event.
The skies are expected to shimmer with a 'natural firework display' again late last night as a meteor shower crosses into the Earth’s atmosphere.


Each year the meteor shower is active between July 17 and August 24 as the Earth’s orbit around the Sun passes through the cosmic trailing from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed through our vicinity in 1992.

Stonehenge looks even more magical than usual as it sits beneath the annual Perseid meteor shower in Salisbury Plain

Although the Perseids meteor shower is an annual event, the Royal Astronomical Society believes prospects for this year’s showing are particularly good and could mean up to 60 shooting stars an hour in the UK.
Last night the bright streaks of light flashed through the sky at a rate of around one a minute.


Clear skies in the north of England meant Tom Heaton, 29, had an amazing view of the display, which saw dozens of meteors shooting across the sky each hour.

Meteor shower

Mr Heaton was at Edlington Castle in Northumberland when he saw the remarkable display between yesterday.


"It was absolutely stunning, we saw about 60 meteors while we were there," he said.


"Usually they just come from one part of the sky but they were coming from all directions, which looked amazing.

Impressive: A Perseid Meteor Shower captured in Powys, Wales, in a spectacular show that has been enjoyed by humans for the past 2,000 years

"There were some big meteors too, which looked more like fire balls and I managed to take a photo of one.


"It was a clear night so the conditions were ideal for seeing the meteor shower, I’m not sure if tonight will be so good as it’s cloudy already."


Meteors, commonly known as shooting stars, are the result of small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed.
These heat the air around them, causing the characteristic streak of light seen from the ground.

A spectacular view over Lindisfarne Castle

They mostly appear as fleeting flashes lasting less than a second, but the brightest ones leave behind trails of vaporised gases and glowing air molecules that may take a few seconds to fade.


Stars gazers will need only their own eyes to enjoy the natural occurrence, which is a result of material falling from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed near the Earth in 1992.

Wish upon a star: If you're lucky bright meteors like this one seen during the 2009 Perseids shower will shoot through the sky leaving visible trails

"Comet Swift-Tuttle won’t be visiting our neck of the woods again until the year 2125, but every year we get this beautiful reminder as the Earth ploughs through the debris it leaves in its orbit' said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast.


"Every meteor is a speck of comet dust vaporising as it enters our atmosphere at 36 miles per second. What a glorious way to go."

 Spectacular: The annual meteor shower is a result of material falling from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle

Armenian News - Tert.am





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