Night sky with Perseids meteor

So we’re already some way in to the annual Perseids meteor shower. I’m no astronomer, but I’m certainly very interested in astronomy, and really want to get more into it. I’d love to buy a telescope, but they don’t come cheap and I don’t want to start with a cheap entry level one only to find that I will need to spend money to upgrade just a short way down the line. At the same time, I believe there’s only so much quality that you need, beyond which I would never see any advantage. At the moment, I can’t warrant the outlay for something that, realistically, I’m not going to get much use out of.

Meanwhile, the Perseids are approaching their peak on 12th August. In the past, I’ve been to the Norman Lockyer Observatory near Sidmouth in Devon to take a look. It was fascinating and I had the opportunity to look at Saturn through Lockyer’s own telescope.

The main reason I would like a telescope is to connect my camera to it and get some photos, I’ve seen some stunning images by amateur astronomers and I want to get in on the action.

The featured image here of the night sky, was taken with a 30 second exposure at ISO 6400. The streak to the right hand side is a Perseid.

Origin of the Perseids

The Perseids are particles that have come off the comet Swift-Tuttle, and are also orbiting the Sun. We see them at this time of year because Earth is passing through the trail of debris that the comet has left behind. In relation to the night sky, they appear to originate from the constellation Perseus and will all appear to be travelling in the same direction. Meteors in other directions are likely to be from different meteor showers.

This year, the Perseids are not likely to appear as intense as other years because the Moon will be in the night sky. Consequently, many of the fainter meteors will not be visible. This year you can probably expect to see around 40 to 50 per hour if you are in a sufficiently dark environment.

Meanwhile, we await clear skies. Stay tuned on my Instagram feed and my Facebook page to see what I manage to capture this year…

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