When is the next meteor shower in the UK? © Getty Images

When is the next meteor shower in the UK?

Your guide to when you can see shooting stars in the UK, including how many you can expect to spot.

So you watched September’s Harvest full Moon, spotted the craters on its surface and maybe even snapped a good photo or two. Now you’re ready for some slightly more challenging astronomy. The perfect next step is a meteor shower.

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You don’t need a telescope – in fact, you’re better off without one – or a star map. All you need is to work out roughly where the shower will originate, lie back, and enjoy the show.

Read on to find out when the next meteor shower will grace the skies above the UK. Or, check out the full Moon UK calendar or read our guide to astronomy for beginners.

What is a meteor shower?

A meteor shower is a stream of shooting stars that appears to come from one particular area of the sky.

As comets travel around the Sun, they leave a trail of debris behind. When these fragments, most of which are smaller than a grain of sand, enter the Earth’s atmosphere, we call them meteors.

Meteors travel at incredibly high speeds and almost all of them completely disintegrate on their journey through the atmosphere. What we see is the flash of light they give off as they disintegrate.

A meteor shower is named for the area of the sky where the meteors appear to originate. For example, the Lyrids seem to come from the constellation of Lyra, and the Leonids from Leo.

When is the next meteor shower in the UK?

The next meteor shower to grace the skies of the UK is the Draconids. The shower is expected to be visible between 7 and 11 October, with the peak on 8-9 October.

If you miss this shower, don’t worry: there are several more you can catch this year. The dates of when you can see each shower, plus the peak and the number you can expect to see per hour, are below.

Draconids

Visible: 7-11 October

Peak: 8-9 October

Rate/hour: Variable

Orionids

Visible: 1-6 October

Peak: 21 October

Rate/hour: 15

Taurids

Visible: 20 October – 10 December

Peak: 12 November

Rate/hour: 5

Leonids

Visible: 5-29 November

Peak: 17-18 November

Rate/hour: 15

Geminids

Visible: 3-16 December

Peak: 14 December

Rate/hour: 120

Ursids

Visible: 17-26 December

Peak: 22-23 December

Rate/hour: 10

Quadrantids

Visible: 28 December to 12 January

Peak: 3-4 January

Rate/hour: 120

Lyrids

Visible: 13-29 April

Peak: 22 April

Rate/hour: 18

Eta Aquariids

Visible: 18 April – 27 May

Peak: 6 May

Rate/hour: 40

Delta Aquariids

Visible: 13 July – 24 August

Peak: 30 July

Rate/hour: 20

Alpha Capricornids

Visible: 2 July – 14 August

Peak: 30 July

Rate/hour: 5

Perseids

Visible: 16 July – 23 August

Peak: 12-13 August

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Rate/hour: 150