I remember when I was a young teenager, late one night, my dad telling me to go and sit on the front door stop. In a state of confusion and curiosity, I did so. My mum soon followed and handed me a mug of tea. I kept asking why but wasn’t told. My dad pointed out the constellation of Cassopeia and told me to watch the skies in that area. About 5 minutes or so, I discovered why. I saw my first ever meteor and felt a rush of adrenaline and a flood of joy. From that moment on, I was hooked.
Years on, I’ve seen hundreds of meteors and every single time, I get the same jolt of adrenaline and joy. I’ve seen tiny faint ones, huge streaks of light flying across the entire length of the sky. I’ve seen the bright flashes of light that happen when they enter the atmosphere directly head on where you’re looking. I’ve seen white ones, blue ones, orange ones and even a bright green fire ball with the sparkliest tail you could ever imagine (I’ll admit I unconsciously ducked on seeing that, it seemed so low).
Every August, between the 6th and 24th, we’re treated to one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, seconded only by the Geminids in December. I was out last night as the skies were stunningly clear and although it was slow going, I saw 7 beautiful meteors and 1 satellite.
This year, the shower peaks tonight and tomorrow. So if you’ve always wanted to see a “shooting star” (meteors), tonight’s your chance. Wait until around 11pm and if the sky is clear, look towards the North East and find the Cassopeia constellation – it looks like a wonky W on it’s side.
Be patient. You could be waiting quite a while and see nothing, but then suddenly you’ll see one. Sometimes after waiting a while, you’ll see several in quick succession. A handy tip to meteor watching I find, is to either let your eyes constantly wander over the skies, or pick a central point, relax your eyes and be aware of your peripheral vision. Find a method that works for you, be patient and enjoy!
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