New lighting should help see meteors

Perseids

Perseids

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Despite the recent rain, Galloway residents are being advised to get their deck chairs out at the weekend to make the most of the dark skies above our region.

Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park is the place to set up camp and enjoy the incredible Perseid meteor shower, an astronomical phenomenon which occurs from the end of July to mid August, and this year the best night to observe are predicted to be 10 – 12 August.

Keith Muir, head of tourism in Galloway Forest Park, who championed the Dark Sky Park bid, said: “The Perseids meteor shower happens when our planet passes through a debris field that is the remnants of the tail of a comet. These chunks of debris hurtle through the earth’s atmosphere and burn up - giving us an amazing shower of ‘shooting stars’.

“On peak years up to 100 can be viewed in one hour making it a great evening’s entertainment for us mere mortals looking skywards.

“We hope we’ll get a couple of clear nights because with the new dark-sky friendly lights being installed across the Dumfries and Galloway Region and the added bonus of the moon moving from a New Moon to first quarter phase, we’ll have an extra-dark sky to make observing the Perseids easier and even more awe inspiring than usual.

“In the year of Natural Scotland there surely can be no larger a natural event than one from the heavens which is free to all and without doubt the most magnificent.

“No picture or words can do it justice, so get out and enjoy the event in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and experience it for yourself. It’s great outdoors.”

In 2011 a moonless night encouraged around 800 people to flock to Galloway Dark Sky Park to turn their faces skyward and witness the free light show that was millions of years in the making.

For more information on the Perseids visit www.meteorwatch.org/meteor-info/meteor-showers-2013/#Perseids