Dark skies should enhance meteor display this week

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The Isle of Man’s famed dark skies status, combined with a new moon should make this one of the best places in the British Isles to see this year’ Perseid meteor storm.

Although the phenomenon occurs every year, this year’s display coincides with a new moon meaning there will be minimal light pollution to detract from the spectacle.

The meteor shower started around mid July but activity is expected to peak on Thursday night when commentators say as many as 80 shooting stars per hour may be visible. However cloud cover later this week may mean tonight (Tuesday) is the best time to watch.

A spokesman for the meteorological office at Ronaldsway said there should be breaks in the cloud tonight and on Wednesday night but visibility could be poor on Thursday.

The best view. cloud permitting, is said to be looking east in the hours before dawn, but activity is likely to be visible anywhere in the sky once it’s dark.

The meteor storm was created after the comet Swift-Tuttle passed close to the sun whose heat and gravitational pull cased debris to break free. The comet passes the sun every 133 years with the latest encounter happening in the early 1990s.

The show tails off after its peak on Thursday but continues until August 26.

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