Perseid meteor shower 2017: Where, when, and how to watch the spectacle of shooting stars

The amazing celestial event could see almost 80 shooting stars an hour flying over Irish skies

If you're a fan of stargazing, you might want to keep your schedule clear this weekend, when one of the most amazing meteor showers of the year will illuminate skies across Ireland.

The annual Perseid meteor shower can be seen throughout Ireland, and will see twenty times more shooting stars than normal light up the skies.

The shower usually falls between July 17 and August 27, and is set to reach its climax this weekend.

This year, the shower will peak on the night ofSaturday, August 12, although if you can't see it that night for some reason, you'll be glad to know there'll still be excellent visibility on the 11th and 13th.

Astronomy Ireland predicts that onlookers should see at least 1-2 shooting stars per minute, meaning as many as 80 could be seen in one hour.

Just a handful of shooting stars are seen on an average night.

Top Irish astronomer, David Moore, explains why we witness the Perseid shower at this time of year.

He said: "It's like driving down a motorway and meeting a swarm of flies.

"The swarm is always in this particular section of the motorway, and this is similar to the Earths path around the Sun.

"The swarm is very big, and so it takes about a week to get into it, and a week to get out out of it.

"We're in the middle right now."

The comets which are made up of dust particles and ice, will be very clear in Ireland, due to our location within the northern hemisphere.

Perseids are small pieces of debris from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

As these portions of celestial debris drift through space into the Earth's atmosphere, they look like bright streaks of light zig-zagging across the sky, hence the knickname - 'shooting stars'.

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