Many folks can live their entire lives without so much as a hint of the scintillating thrill that is observing a meteor shower. If you – like us – have your astronomical telescopes and binoculars at the ready for an exciting year of meteoric astronomy action, check out our quick guide to the best meteor showers visible from the UK during 2011.
Lyrids Meteor Shower(21st-22nd April) – Peaking at around 20 meteors per hour, Lyrids is sometimes visible as early as 16th April right through to 25th April. Look towards the constellation Lyra to see radiating meteors. This shower is of note thanks to the incredibly long trails left in the wake of meteors (sometimes lasting many seconds)
Perseids Meteor Shower(12th-13th August) – Arguably one of the best showers to observe (peaks at around 60 meteors per hour) Although looking to the constellation Perseus through astronomical telescopes or binoculars between 23rd July and 22nd August could reveal many more meteors.
Leonids Meteor Shower(17th-18th November) – Annually peaking at 40 meteors per hour, this cyclic shower peaks magnificently every 33 years, resulting in hundreds of meteors visible (most recently in 2001) emanating from the constellation Leo.
Geminids Meteor Shower(13th-14th December) – Often cited as the best meteor shower in celestial history, Geminids can peak at up to 60 multicoloured meteors per hour. Check out the constellation Gemini from 6th-19th December.
Although many meteor showers are visible with the naked eye, the visual impact of glimpsing the likes of Geminids or Lyrids through an astronomical telescope is mesmerising!