10 August 2023, by Victoria Séveno

August is here, and that means great news for any avid (or aspiring) stargazers out there: this weekend marks a real highlight in the annual astronomical calendar, with the Perseids meteor shower peaking over the Netherlands on the night of August 12. 

What is the Perseids meteor shower?

After the Alpha Capricornids and Delta Aquariids peaked at the end of July, August will once again play host to the peak of the Perseids. The meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the stream of debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, and is known as the Perseids because the meteors seem to originate from the constellation of Perseus.

With a comet nucelus 26 kilometres in diameter, Swift-Tuttle is the largest object in the solar system that repeatedly passes close to Earth, which it does once every 133 years. The Perseids is one of the year’s most popular meteor showers, as it is easily visible across the entire northern hemisphere. 

Spot shooting stars in Dutch skies this weekend

The Perseids meteor shower has been visible since mid-July and will be active right up until August 24, but at its peak on the night of August 12, you could see between 40 and 50 meteors an hour! Your best chances of getting a good glimpse are between 12am and 5.30am on August 13 – painful, but thankfully the peak falls on the weekend this year! 

Luckily, visibility could be pretty good; the peak is just days before a new moon, meaning there won’t be much natural light pollution. As per usual, however, the Dutch weather could wreak havoc on your stargazing plans – forecasts expect it to be fairly overcast this weekend. Nevertheless, to maximise your chances of seeing this meteorological show, be sure to head out of the city to an area with little to no artificial light (such as a national park).

Thumb: Majo Chudy via Shutterstock.com.

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