How to see the Perseid meteor shower

Image: Shutterstock

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.

Find out everything and more you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower in this brilliant blog post on the Royal Observatory’s website.

There’s lots more information about the Perseids on Astronomy Now, too.


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How to spot the Lyrid meteor shower 2021

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.

For full information about the Lyrids meteor shower, head to this article on the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

☄️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!

Image: Shutterstock

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here and flick through a space-themed issue here!


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StarFinder for Beginners jacket

Star Finder book winners

Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE with Star finder for beginners book

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.

  1. Isla Mackwell
  2. Benjamin Porter
  3. Thomas Perry
  4. Clair Saunders
  5. Danielle Vipond

We’ve also got some top tips from Maggie for star-gazing, including using a red torch if you need light as this has less effect on your eyes as they get used to the dark.


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Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for kids Shooting star

Looking for a cheap and easy kids science party? Host a stargazing party!

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.

Whizz Pop Bang Science magazine for kids pull-out star map

Whizz Pop Bang science party ideas

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.


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