Stargazers should look to the skies this evening to see the Perseid meteor shower

The Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid Meteor Shower - Credit: Archant

Stargazers are in for a treat on Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the planets align and the Perseid meteor shower puts on a stunning display in the night sky.

Thanks to the astronomical event reaching its peak just before a new moon, the sky will be at its darkest, giving a much better view as the earth passes through the cloud of shooting stars.

Cloud cover has been forecast in the area but breaks in the cloud are also predicted. So with up to 80 shooting stars an hour, there’s every chance of catching a glimpse of the spectacular light show overhead.

Rural areas also suffer from low levels of light pollution, which should add to the spectacle over large parts of Cambridgeshire.

The meteor shower has actually been active since July 13 but will hit its peak before the new moon on August 14. It should be at its most spectacular at about 4am on Thursday morning.

No telescope is required, but a red light is recommended, as it improves night vision. If you haven’t got a red torch, one tip is to take an ordinary torch and secure a red sweet wrapper around the lens.

It can take your eyes a while to adjust to the dark, so give it time and keep away from your mobile phone. Looking at its bright screen means your eyes will have to adjust all over again.

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Keep warm, look to the east and be patient – there may no be no sign of the meteors for a while before a sudden spurt of activity.

The Perseid shower is so-named, as when viewed from earth it looks as if the shooting stars are coming from the Persius constellation.