Perseid meteor shower: When and where to watch shooting stars dazzle the sky

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

The annual Perseids light show is the biggest meteor shower of the year

Astronomy lovers in B.C. hoping to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower on Saturday night could potentially be out of luck.

Cloud cover is expected to hit much of B.C.’s south coast on Saturday night, which could put a damper on one of the biggest astronomical events of the year.

The Perseid meteor shower generally starts in mid-July and peaks around Aug. 12, as a result of the Earth passing through a trail of debris associated with a comet known as Swift-Tuttle.

“Every year on this day we go through that trail of dust, and it lights up our sky,” said Scott McGillivray of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The meteor shower may not light up Metro Vancouver skies as in years past, as clouds are expected to arrive on B.C.’s south coast Saturday night followed by rainfall.

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.

McGillivray will be part of a group who will be watching at Aldergrove Lake Park in Langley on Saturday night.

The Okangan Observatory, located about 30 minutes outside Kelowna, will also be hosting an event.

Schalle notes that northeastern parts of B.C. are expected to have clear skies, giving those in the area the best chance of spotting the meteor shower.

“If you do want to see it, try and find a dark sky,” McGillivray said. “The number one thing for astronomy — more important than your telescope — is a clear, dark sky.”

The annual Perseids is predicted to be one of the most spectacular shows in years – with up to 100 shooting stars every hour.

When to watch

Although the shower started on July 17 the impressive display is set to continue all through the week until August 24.

And the best time to see meteors streak across the sky will be in the pre-dawn hours of August 12 and 13.

Where to watch

To see the shower in its full glory, stargazers will need to head to large, open spaces — the clearer the skies the better the view.

Experts at the Met Office advise people to head to areas away from street lights to see the best of the showers.

In the capital, open spaces like Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath could provide ideal spots to settle in for a night of stargazing.

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