If you’ve never seen a “shooting star” then the next few nights will be a good time to hop outside with a cuppa and look up. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks over the next few nights and weather permitting even with the moon it should be good.
The Perseid is a regular occourance, the shower itself is caused when the Earth moves into the debris trail left behind from the comet Swift-Tuttle which last passed by in 1992 and isn’t expected back until 2142. The Earth plunges into this trail and the fragments, of which most are the size of a grain of sand, then plunge into the atmosphere where, they burn up.
The name Perseid comes from the radiant (origin) of most of the meteors just above the constellation of Perseus, in the north east of the sky. If you can’t quite find it then look for Cassiopeia, it’s unmissable in the sky since it is essentially a giant “W” in the sky then from the left hand side of the W move slightly down towards the ground. Although they can appear anywhere in the sky, they should all appear to fly out of this point in the sky.
One of the best things about this is it’s free and you don’t need expensive equipment, just eyes, and some warm clothes and since it’s Britain, A break in the clouds. Sadly like I said the moon is out tomorrow (the Peak time around midnight)
If you’re lucky to catch one and have access to Twitter then the hashtag for the night is #meteorwatch. Just stick your postcode and the tag into a tweet and it’ll appear on the map over at http://www.meteorwatch.org/