Skip to content
Science, Maths & Technology
  • Video
  • 30 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

The Perseid meteor shower 2017

Updated Friday 11th August 2017

The Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak this year on the nights of 11th-13th August. Find out more about meteors, Perseus and what meteors have to do with ancient Egypt here...

Perseid meteor and Milky Way in 2009 Creative commons image Icon Brocken Inaglory (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-SA-3.0 licence under Creative-Commons license The Perseid meteor shower usually peaks around August 11th-13th with the night of the 11th tending to be the best night to catch some lookalike 'shooting stars'. 

Despite rumours, it's not true that this will be the greatest meteor shower ever - NASA have issued a statement to damp down excitement:

This year, we are expecting enhanced rates of about 150 per hour or so, but the increased number will be cancelled out by the bright Moon, the light of which will wash out the fainter Perseids. A meteor every couple of minutes is good, and certainly worth going outside to look, but it is hardly the “brightest shower in human history.” The Leonid meteor storms of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s were much more spectacular, and had rates 10 times greater than the best Perseid display.

The Met Office suggest that there's a chance of cloud making the night less than memorable across much of the UK, but have a forecast of the best times to look up:

How do I watch the Perseids?

Channel 4's Liam Dutton explains all you need to know:

To mark the lighting up of the sky, we've collated a range of articles and a game on the meteor shower. Find out how you can find your own meteorites, discover where the name 'Perseids' comes from and learn about the relationship between meteorites and beads from ancient Egypt in the collection below. 

Test your knowledge on meteoroids with this game

Meet Perseus - the man who inspired the name 'Perseids' 

Discover how to find your own meteorite

What have meteors and iron got to do with Egyptian beads?

 

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Night sky puts on a meteor shower to celebrate Rosetta’s closest approach to the sun Creative commons image Icon mLu.fotos under CC-BY under Creative-Commons license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Night sky puts on a meteor shower to celebrate Rosetta’s closest approach to the sun

The Perseids coincide with Rosetta making its closest approach to the Sun, explains Monica Grady.

Article
Historical comet-landing site is looking for a name Creative commons image Icon Cristiano Oliveira under CC BY-NC 2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Historical comet-landing site is looking for a name

Just as Rosetta is named for the Rosetta Stone, the comet-landing site is also looking for a name that will resonate through history.

Article
Dallas Campbell meets Frank Drake Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The Open University video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Dallas Campbell meets Frank Drake

If there are other intelligent cultures around the universe, why haven't we met them yet? And why haven't we heard from them? Frank Drake explains.

Video
30 mins
Discover Mercury: Why study Mercury? Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Discover Mercury: Why study Mercury?

What is it about Mercury that rewards a closer look?

Video
10 mins
Mercury or bust Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: ESA article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Mercury or bust

As UK lead scientist for BepiColombo, the European Space Agency's mission to Mercury, Dave Rothery attends a working group meeting in the Netherlands.

Article
Finding Asteroids In Space Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Finding Asteroids In Space

Professor David W Hughes discusses the ways that astronomers detect and observe asteroids

Article
The Naming of Asteroids Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

The Naming of Asteroids

How do asteroids get their names?

Article
Discover Mercury: The MESSENGER project Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Discover Mercury: The MESSENGER project

NASA's MESSENGER visited Mercury in 2015. Here's a little about that project.

Video
10 mins
Dr Manish Patel and Dr Stephen Lewis on Landing on Mars Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: ESA video icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Dr Manish Patel and Dr Stephen Lewis on Landing on Mars

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is about to land on the red planet. In this short video, our OU academics explain their role in the remarkable mission.

Video
5 mins