Belfast Telegraph

Sky puts on stellar show

By DAVID WILCOX

As many as 60 shooting stars an hour could be visible in the night sky over Northern Ireland next week as an annual stellar show takes place.

Stargazers will get the chance to see the Perseid meteors – one of the fixtures of the astronomical calendar – as the Earth makes its pass through a comet debris trail.

The Royal Astronomical Society said Monday is likely to be the best night to see it.

The Perseids are dust grains shed from the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle as it hits the earth's atmosphere. The comet last passed the earth in 1992 and is not due to return until 2125.

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, from Queen's University, said: "Every meteor is a speck of comet dust vapourising as it enters our atmosphere at 36 miles per second. What a glorious way to go."

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