The Perseid meteor shower is a spectacle not to be missed as, if conditions are right, it’s a great opportunity to spot lots of bright meteors – 60 or more per hour!
In 2021, the Perseids are visible between 16 July – 23 August, but in 2021 the meteor shower reaches it peak on 11th/12th and 12th/13th August.
Here are some top tips for how to spot meteors:
☄️ Research the best time to spot the meteor shower – for the Perseids in 2021 in the UK, this is in the early hours of 12th and 13th August. The days leading up to these dates could also be good opportunities to see a good show. ☄️ Ideally, the sky should be dark. You’ll get a better view away from streetlights and when the Moon is not full. The Moon sets by 10pm in mid-August in the UK, so the sky will be darkest after that time. ☄️ Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible, or get comfy in a deckchair. ☄️ Give your eyes 15 minutes to get used to the dark ☄️ Check the weather forecast – a clear sky will give a better view. ☄️ Look low in the north-eastern sky to spot the Perseids, although they can appear anywhere in the sky.
The best time to spot the Lyrid meteor in the UK in 2021 is on the night of 21st – 22nd April. This year, it coincides with a gibbous Moon, which means that the night sky will be bright, which makes spotting meteors a little harder – but don’t be deterred! Follow these tips from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich for the best chance of meteor-spotting.
☄️Find a dark site with an unobstructed view of the sky. ☄️The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 22 April (the night of the 21 April). ☄️Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible. ☄️Look towards the Vega constellation – here’s a handy map showing how to find it at this time of year thanks to Astronomy Now. ☄️Blanket optional but highly recommended. Reclining deckchairs make an even more comfortable way to view the sky. ☄️Remember to wrap up warm!
In Whizz Pop Bag 62: Zoom to the Moon, we asked readers to write a poem inspired by the Moon.
The fantastic entries were out of this world! It was so hard to pick just three winners, but we eventually settled on Amelie, aged 8, Isabella, aged 9 and Isa, aged 8. Keep scrolling to read their Moon poems.
Silver sparkles, a bright light the moon shimmers every night If only I could go and see I wonder what there would be?
I lay in bed in my dark room When all of a sudden, a loud sonic boom! I looked outside and couldn’t believe my eyes A rocket in my garden! What a surprise.
Off I went, zoom zoom zoom, Before I knew it, I was on the moon! Could this be real? I rubbed my eyes Chocolate-filled craters and mountains of pies
What more could there be, I started to think Some delicious moon nectar for me to drink I leaned in close, to fill up my mug When all of a sudden I felt a warm hug
Oh no I thought, who could it be? An alien or monster? I just couldn’t see! ‘Wake up sleepy-head’, I heard her say I guess I’ll have to finish my adventure some other day.
Who holds the moon? by Amelie aged 8
Neither closer nor further in the night sky The alluring moon hangs there so high Landscapes of craters, mountains and seas Luminous, it’s beauty bathes the trees
Have you wondered what force holds it there For all to see, to dream and stare Is it a wire, a rope or some string No, there must be some invisible thing
Magnetism, is that what it could be The reason the moon can’t break free I struggle and ponder to find the theory Although it takes time, it’s never dreary
I ponder and think, I jump up and come down This is beyond me I say with a frown Who knows not I, let’s wait and see Ahh, maybe it’s the force of gravity
A Day Trip to the Moon by Isabella, aged 9
Gakk, Riley and Emmi, decided to go to the moon! Y tried to warn them, that it could all end in doom! Riley told them all, they should build a rocket, Ready for this moment, he pulled a blueprint from his pocket, Emmi tried to think, what else they needed to bring? Gakk ran off and returned, with spades and a rubber ring! “What on earth is that for?” Y shouted with glee, Gakk smiled and said loudly “We are going to the sea!” Riley laughed and shouted “ There aren’t any seas on the moon!” “Yes there is!”, Gakk replied “you’ll see very soon!” Emmi say to Y “We are going to need a ride” Y says “Don’t worry, I have my moon buggy outside!” Everything was assembled, Emmi climbed onto the first stair, Y then shouted suddenly “Wait!, we can’t go anywhere” “We haven’t got any rocket fuel and no money to pay!” Emmi said “Never mind, we can go another day!”
The moon is dusty and far away. It can be seen at night and sometimes day. Wolves howl at the moon, Bats swoop past the moon. Moths navigate by the light of the moon. Astronauts have stood on the moon. Dropping a hammer, dropping a feather. Testing the gravity. Checking the weather. The moon is bright on a dark night, But it’s just reflecting the sun’s light. With all that said, I bet it’s true, We still don’t know all about the moon.
Team Moon by Layton, aged 6
Man has walked on the Moon, NASA is going back really soon, I wish I could be part of their team, Being an Astronaut is my dream.
I love to stargaze with my mum, When we have said goodnight to the Sun, The stars all twinkle really bright, But nothing is better than the Moon at night.
The Moon by Anna, aged 10
The moon is a silver coin tossed up high, Glinting always in the dark black sky. Will it land on heads or tails? Will the moon landings succeed or fail?
The moon is a diamond, clear and bright, Sparkling and shining all through the night. Always staying in that same place, In the deep black mines of mysterious space.
The moon is a guardian circling forever, It and the Earth have always been together. The moon watches over all that we see, It watches you and it watches me.
The moon is a shapeshifter, changing shape and size, Each night something different appears before our eyes. Changing shape like cards shuffling, King, Queen, Ace, Full, quarter, crescent, new, all the way up in space.
But whatever the moon is, it’s there every night, Silver and glowing, clear and bright. The moon is with us until the end, And that’s why I say that the moon is my friend.
The Rhyming Moon by Louis, aged 6
Bright white Night light In space I see a face Made of cheese, if you believe
Wolves howl a tune At the silvery moon. Hey! Would you like to play on the moon tonight?
The Moon by Elijah, aged 11
Somewhere up in the clouds above, Where no creature or human lies, When the sun goes down and darkness thrives, Look! It’s the moon! Standing bright and alive. Where the stars eyes gaze onwards, All those miles away, up in the great black skies, the moon is there, to guide our way. Always watching onwards, Always one step ahead, The moon sits, Just waiting, Waiting for the sun to go down, For it is then that the moon can stand, Bright and alive.
Moon Poem by Nicholas, aged 11
Moon, Moon glowing bright, you are the queen of the night. You shine from dusk till dawn, but are faint when we wake in the morn.
Moon, Moon glowing bright, you are the queen of the night.
Moon, Moon glowing bright, centrepiece of our night. Your cycles wax and wane, you’re greater than the sun with its fiery mane.
Moon, Moon glowing bright, centrepiece of our night.
Moon, Moon glowing bright, you take the troubles from our night. You shine within our darkest hour, and give us your glory and power.
Moon, Moon glowing bright, you take the troubles from our night.
Moon, Moon can you hear me? You save ships tossed at sea, you guide sailors who have lost their way and when they’re safe they say:
Moon, Moon who gives us light, our beaming saviour of this night.
In conjunction with our Planetary Adventures edition (issue 28) we ran a competition to win Star Finder for Beginners, signed by Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE! Maggie is a presenter on BBC Four show Sky at Night, and is passionate about inspiring kids, especially girls, into science.
To enter the competition Whizz Pop Bang readers answered the following question:
What are stars made of?
A) Hot gas
B) Shiny aliens
c) Sparling Moon dust
The correct answer is of course hot gas! Well done to everyone who entered ?
Here our the five winners, who will each receive a signed copy of Star Finder for Beginners. Happy star-gazing! Thank you to DK Books for supplying the prizes, and asking Maggie to sign them for our lucky mini scientists.
As the nights draw in and it gets dark earlier it’s the perfect time to pull on your hats and gloves and get outside to start stargazing! Before you venture out we’ve got some top tips from space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE. And if you’re keen to learn more about the night sky, enter our online competition to win a copy of STAR FINDER FOR BEGINNERS signed by Maggie ? ? ?
KIDS! Do you love star-gazing and finding out all about the wonders of the night sky above us? Have you ever tried spotting a constellation? With this brand new book you’ll learn how to identify ‘pathfinder’ stars and discover more than 20 constellations. Also includes a glow-in-the-dark night-sky viewer!
The good news is we have five copies signed by BBC TV star Maggie Aderin-Pocock, so get your entries in to win! Simply answer this question by leaving your answer in the comment box below:
What are stars made of? A) Hot gas B) Shiny Aliens C) Sparkling moon dust
Whilst Maggie was busy signing the books for our lucky winners we asked her for some top tips for star-gazing, this is what she said…
With stargazing it’s all about location, location, location. Find somewhere away from the streetlights, I try to go to the back garden or go with an adult to an open field.
It’s good to have a clear night, cloud stops us from seeing the stars and if the moon is too bright it can also be hard to see the stars.
If you do get a clear night it can be cold so wrap up warm, but remember to let your eyes adjust to the dark. If you need light carry a red torch as this has less effect on your eyes as they adapt to the dark.
Best of all enjoy yourself. There is so much to see with just our eyes, the Moon, stars planets and comets. Have fun!
September is the ideal time of year for a stargazing party; it’s cheap, easy to host and the kids get to stay up ‘late’ which is always deemed to be fun in itself!
Inside issue 13 is the ultimate guide to the night sky, along with a pull-out stargazing map to help the kids decipher the constellations and find out how to spot Mars, and depending on the conditions, maybe Saturn too!
We’ve put together a party planner for your science party with a difference, including the recipe for planet cake pops to impress all your party guests. And don’t forget to order copies of Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for really cool goodie bags, order single issues here.
For your stargazing party you will need:
Blankets to lie on in the garden
Binoculars (and a telescope if you have one or can borrow one)
Flasks/cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows
Jam jars and tea lights to decorate the garden, and lead the way to the stargazing blankets
Planet cake pops already made and ready to eat
Glow in the dark stickers or glow sticks to play with together
Tell your guests to bring a jumper and a wooly hat so they don’t get too cold!
The ultimate evening to hold your stargazing party will be on Saturday 10th September as the Moon will be visible in the evening sky and it will be dark by around 8pm.