Rarer than Wombles: Wimbledon Common stargazers best spot to see spectacular Perseid meteor shower

Stargazers are in for a spectacular show as the Perseid meteor shower doubles its usual rate of shooting stars shimmering in the skies tonight – and Wimbledon Common is one of the best places to watch the show.

For night owls, willing to watch from 1am until dawn breaks, the meteor shower will light up the Earth’s northern hemisphere as our planet passes through the trail of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle until August 24.

This year the shower will be in ‘outburst’ meaning instead of seeing around 80 Perseids per hour the night sky could be full with up to 200 per hour when the Earth passes through the densest part of the trail between tonight and Saturday.

With light pollution a critical problem for London astronomers, never mind fear of cloud cover or moonlight interrupting the view, south west Londoners are lucky to have an ‘oases of darkness’ in Wimbledon Common.

The Common is accessible all night although the car park will be closed from 9pm. The park rangers say ‘everyone is welcome’ and suggest people eager to see the night skies gather around the windmill where keen astronomers are sometimes spotted.

NASA meteor shower experts recommend letting your eyes adjust to the darkness for at least 30 minutes, including putting phones away, lying flat on your back looking directly up and the sky – and taking a picnic!

Picture courtesy of Ralph Arvesen, with thanks

Related Articles