Perseids meteor shower 2017 - when and where to watch it
The Perseids Meteor Shower as seen from Zhejiang Province in China.(Picture: Getty)

Stargazers will be able to get their first glimpse of the Perseids Meteor Shower tonight as the annual celestial event begins.

A handful of meteors will stream across the sky tonight as the annual event which takes place between July 17 and August 24 begins.

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The showers will grow in frequency from around five meteors per hour to 80 on the peak day of August 12.

But unlike last year, the meteors will be more difficult to pick out on a busy day because they will pass in front of a three-quarters full moon.

The Perseids are considered the ‘best and most reliable meteor showers of the year’.

Showers light up the sky every year as the Earth passes through a trail of debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Meteors, streak past stars in the night sky near Amman, in the early hours of August 12, 2004. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, and was clearly visible to the naked eye in several parts of the Middle East and Asia. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji
Meteors, streak past stars in the night sky near Amman(Picture: Reuters)
The Perseid Meteor Shower seen over Ladram Bay, Devon. The meteor shpwer is one of the most spectacular shows of the year, with meteors being seen from the 17 July through to the 24 August. The peak of the display is between the 9 ñ 13 August, when there will be between 80 and 100 meteors per hour, unfortunately at the peak this year a bright moon will make viewing difficult. The meteors are the debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the radiant of the display is constellation of Perseus.
(Picture: SWNS)

The meteors themselves are pieces of this comet heating up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

The meteors derive their name as they appear to streak away from the Perseus constellation – hence Perseids.

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They’re bits of ice and dust, which can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a pea.

They hit the Earth’s atmosphere at a whopping speed of 134,000 mph, but don’t pose any danger to us on Earth.

How to see them

The Perseid Meteor Shower seen over Bigbury on Sea Devon. The meteor shpwer is one of the most spectacular shows of the year, with meteors being seen from the 17 July through to the 24 August. The peak of the display is between the 9 ñ 13 August, when there will be between 80 and 100 meteors per hour, unfortunately at the peak this year a bright moon will make viewing difficult. The meteors are the debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the radiant of the display is constellation of Perseus.
The Perseid Meteor Shower seen over Bigbury on Sea Devon (Picture: SWNS)

Unlike some other cosmic events, spectators don’t need special technology to watch the Perseids unfold.

It’s best to find a wide open space away from tall buildings or trees, and with as little light as possible. The more of the sky you can see, the better.

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