Perseids meteor shower gives Britain a beautiful show: See the video and photos

Perseid meteor shower
Perseids: Timelapse Shows Full Beauty of Meteor Shower



Stargazers have caught sight of hundreds of shooting stars in the night skies above the UK as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked.

Onlookers in the Midlands and the North had the best view of the meteors as cloud cover meant visibility was limited across southern England and Scotland.

See also: Northern Lights light up the skies of Britain

The Perseids were keenly anticipated this year as they coincided with a new moon, creating the ideal dark sky conditions, and were also briefly joined overhead by a bright man-made star, the International Space Station (ISS).


Perseid meteor star trail


Occurring yearly between July 17 and August 24, the meteors reached their peak on Wednesday and Thursday night when over 100 meteors an hour were produced.

Those who stayed up to watch the shower turned to Twitter to share their delight.

Alex Haynes, of Wolverhampton, tweeted: "Truly spectacular view directly up tonight. Clear sky, absolutely amazing. Perseid."

Linda Scannell, of Warwick, said: "Just saw the biggest shooting star I've ever seen."

Perseid meteor shower

James Thompson, of Chesterfield, posted: "Best viewing of a meteor shower I think I've seen so far. Wonderful show from the Perseids."

And Courtney Green, who was watching from the West Midlands, tweeted: "Meteor shower was quite cool tonight, saw so many shooting stars! So pretty."


Perseid meteor shower

Professor Mark Bailey, director of Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, called the Perseids the "best and most reliable meteor showers of the year".

Prof Bailey predicted the Perseids would this year produce an outburst of activity around 7.40pm BST on August 12, while it was still light, but the stars could be seen long after dark.


BRITAIN - ASTRONOMY - METEORS - PERSEIDS


Members of Birmingham Astronomical Society were among those who had readied themselves to take advantage of the region's clear skies.

The ISS, which orbits earth every 90 minutes, was expected to be visible for four minutes from 10.28pm on Wednesday.


Perseid meteor shower

Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "The thing about shooting stars is they're a wonderful free spectacle we can all enjoy, assuming clear skies.

"The Perseids are usually fairly bright. Also, they tend to leave a trail, or train, behind them. You can see the train hanging there glowing in the sky for a few seconds - sometimes for several minutes - after the meteor has gone."

See also:Scottish meteor shower prompts 999 calls

Meteors are the result of particles as small as a grain of sand entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed and burning up.

BRITAIN - ASTRONOMY - METEORS - PERSEIDS

They can appear anywhere but seem to emerge from a single point, or "radiant". The Perseid's radiant is in the north-east constellation of Perseus.

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Perfect places to sleep under the stars
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Perseids meteor shower gives Britain a beautiful show: See the video and photos
'Star beds', which can be rolled out onto outdoor sleeping platforms, are all the rage in the most exclusive safari destinations, but at this small luxury camp, the bathing's alfresco too. After a night drive in the Okavango Delta, you'll return to find a free-standing zinc bath has magically appeared on your candlelit viewing deck. Book through Sanctuary Retreats.
Head far out to sea for the least light polluted skies in the world. Charter a yacht in the Caribbean with Sunsail and you're guaranteed balmy evenings, warm enough to drift off to sleep on deck with the constellations as your ceiling...
Much as we love staycationing, the good old British weather can really put a spanner in the works when it comes to sleeping totally al fresco. After a day of surfing at Widmouth Bay or walking on Bodmin Moor, hole up in his stylish bubble and listen to the rain pelt down while you watch the sun set over the hills, cosy from the heat of the wood burning stove. Book through Canopy & Stars.
If you prefer your stargazing from a position of ultimate comfort and luxury, the Honey Room at this lakeside Relais et Chateaux hotel is for you. Recline on your four poster bed, press a button and hey presto, the cabriolet roof slides back to reveal a starlit sky. If you stay during the annual Perseid meteor shower, legend has it that for every falling star you see, a wish will be granted. Book through L'Albereta.
Make like a cowboy and saddle up for a night under the stars on the remote reservation lands of the Crow Tribe in Montana, aka the 'Big Sky Country'. After a traditional Native American cookout, hunker down with a bedroll and sleeping bag – and pray you don't wake up walking like John Wayne...Book through Ranch Rider.
Also known as the 'Valley of the Moon', this desert area is home to the Zalabia Bedouin, who traditionally sleep in tents made of goat hair. Follow a guided tour on camel or horseback, or hike out into the silence with nothing but a sleeping bag and roll up mattress. Tours with www.gapadventures.co.uk include desert camping, as well as trips to Petra and the Red Sea.
The stars are different down under and what better place to become acquainted with The Southern Cross, the 'Pointer Stars' and the South Pole Star than from a traditional bushman's swag (a kind of waterproof bedroll)? A four day walking safari through the Flinders Ranges will bring you up close and personal with native wildlife and stunning outback scenery, with three nights spent under the night sky in a luxury swag complete with cotton sheets and a thick mattress. Book through Arkaba Walking Safaris.
IThe remote Elqui Valley attracts astronomers from all over the world. If your cosmology knowledge is a little rusty, attend a talk by the resident astronomer before retiring to one of Elqui Domos' seven canvas domes with nifty removable roofs through which to gaze up at the heavens. Book through Journey Latin America.
If you prefer to go it alone and experience some proper wild camping in one of the most remote and spectacular spots in Britain, head up to Sandwood Bay, on the far north west coast of Scotland. The nearest road is four miles away, so pack light. You may be lucky enough to spot dolphins, the ghost of a shipwrecked mariner and mermaids. You will definitely spot stars - and midges - in their millions. To plan a trip to Scotland, visit Visit Scotland.
Far north of the Arctic Circle, it's not just the stars that provide a nocturnal display but the mystical Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. The unique geodesic glass igloos at this Lapland hotel are made from frost-free thermal glass, providing a 360 degree view and ambient temperatures, even when it's -30 c outside. Book through Black Tomato.
Set in 1,000 acres of beautiful moorland, guests can star gaze from the warmth and comfort of their own alfresco hideaway at Slaley Hall.  This luxurious outdoor bedroom comes with your very own personal Butler, champagne, lounge seating to enjoy the sunset and a fire pit. The package is £1,150 per couple per night. Make the most of your stay by booking in on the night of the summer solstice on 21st June. The Sleeping Under the Stars package has limited availability on the 21st June, 28th June, 5th July and 12th July 2014 (subject to availability). To book call 01434 673 350. 
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