THERE are around a dozen meteor showers every year, but the mid-August Perseid shower is one of the best. Rich in bright shooting stars, it peaks overnight on August 12, but you can see more meteors than usual for a few nights either side of that date. So, through the next week, go out late on any clear night and you have a very good chance of seeing a couple of shooting stars skimming across the sky.
Unfortunately, this year's peak coincides with an almost Full Moon, which will drown out most of the fainter meteors. But the brighter ones will still shine through the moonlight. You might see some from your garden, but if you can get out of town late on the 12th and find somewhere dark, with a big sky, you'll see a lot more. Wrap up warm, take a hot flask and a friend (or radio) for company, and just enjoy the show. Take binoculars too, to look at any of the ghostly, glowing ‘smoke trails’ the very brightest meteors often leave behind.
Stuart Atkinson, Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal