SCOTLAND was hit with a whole host of heavy localised showers across the country today, but the shower that is coming our way next week will be even more spectacular and certainly much further travelled than mere rain from the Atlantic or North Sea.

Termed the brightest show of Earth, the annual Perseids meteor shower is already under way but will peak on August 11, 12 and 13.

They are called Perseids because they seem to emerge from the constellation Perseus, named after the Greek mythological hero. In reality the Perseids are nowhere near the stars that make up the Perseus constellation, but are caused by the dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

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Earth passes through the debris from the comet’s orbit once a year, with meteoroids emerging in large numbers. Fragments from the comet’s trail are mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, and burn up spectacularly as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere at 35-36 miles per second, producing the telltale “shooting star” stream of light in the sky.

Don’t try and catch one though as temperatures can reach anywhere from 1648C to 5537C as they speed across the sky. This year the Perseids will be producing an average of between 60 and 80 shooting stars an hour at their peak, well down on 2017 when the shower was especially active, delivering up to 150 meteors an hour at its height.

To explain the various definitions: when they’re in space, these pieces of debris are called meteoroids, but when they reach Earth’s atmosphere, they’re designated as meteors. If a meteor makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up, it becomes a meteorite.

Stargazers can expect to see the greatest number of meteors during the shower’s peak between August 11-13 this year, according to

“It coincides reasonably well with the new Moon,” Professor Michael Merrifield, an astronomer at the University of Nottingham, told the BBC. “The new Moon is on the 8th this month and the peak of the Perseids is on the 12th.

“The new Moon will make the sky that bit darker so that you can see some of the fainter things. If you’re in a city, probably the Moon is not the dominant source of light. But once you get out into the countryside or get away from the bright lights of the city, probably the most dominant sort of brightness in the sky is the Moon.

“You need no special equipment at all. The last thing you want is a telescope for this, because actually they spread out all across the sky.

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“Telescopes are very good for looking at very small bit of the sky, but not good for trying to pick up what’s happening across a wide field of view.

“From my perspective, the two key pieces of observing equipment for observing meteor showers is a deck chair – because you want to have a comfortable place to sit – and, if it’s cold, a duvet.”

Unfortunately there is a mixed weather forecast for the next week or so, and clouds might well obscure the view from Scotland.