Not seeing many meteors during Perseid shower? Blame the moon

If you can see through the clouds, there's a meteor shower happening tonight in Ireland

A DAZZLING display of shooting stars will light up Britain's skies as the best meteor shower of the year takes place.

The problem is, this year's peak night for the meteor shower will coincide with a almost full moon.

The Perseid meteor shower hits its peak this weekend in North America, with the best views available Friday and Saturday nights, but the bright moon, which turned full on Monday, is obscuring numerous fainter Perseids from view.

Global BC meteorologist Yvonne Schalle said there is a chance for breaks in the clouds, which is good news for astronomy buffs who will be out in force Saturday night in hope of seeing the meteor shower. The meteors will originate in the northeastern sky near the constellation Perseus (thus their name). But the bright moon will wash out the finer Perseids.

"You could see none at all for a few minutes and then two or three".

A meteor during the Perseid shower
A meteor during the Perseid shower

"You might be lucky or unlucky; that's the way with meteors", he said. You'll still be able to see meteors following moon rise but the number of "shooting stars" you spot won't likely be as high.

Not only will a waning gibbous moon be rising in the region of the Perseid radiant, but the meteors will visible for longer when viewed streaking away from their point of origin. At certain times they could be close together and at others seem to disappear.

Astronomers says hundreds of meteors will streak across the sky in a display that may be visible around the world.

The comet orbits the sun every 135 years. None of the particles are big enough to avoid destruction and reach the ground.

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