TONIGHT is the night for stargazers to catch the annual Perseid meteor shower as shoots its way through Dorset’s night sky.

The spectacular display of meteors is expected to peak this evening as the Earth flies through a cloud of cometary dust.

The Perseid meteors, shed by comet Swift-Tuttle, are a recurring August phenomenon and are among the brightest of all shooting stars.

The multi-coloured streaks are so called because the radiant (the point they appear to come from) is within the constellation Perseus – a Greek hero and slayer of monsters.

The shower expected to peak this evening with good visibility predicted in the early hours on Sunday.

Alan Jefferis from the Wessex Astronomical Society said: ““This year, the moon will be less than five days past full, and it rises at about 11pm.

“This can make it difficult to see the meteor shower, so the best time to look out for it is from 9:30pm when it begins to get dark until the moon is fully risen.

“It’s no use having binoculars because they’re very quick. Unless you get a very bright one, that will leave a trail lasting around thirty seconds – but those are very exceptional.”

Mr Jefferis recommended heading to the county’s dark spots such as Cranbourne Chase or the astronomy centre at Durlston Country Park which will be hosting a stargazing event from 9pm tonight.

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