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‘The probability of seeing a falling star is great’: How to watch Thursday night’s meteor shower in Switzerland

Thursday night’s Perseid meteor shower is expected to be the best in years due to favourable conditions. Here’s how you can catch it.

‘The probability of seeing a falling star is great’: How to watch Thursday night's meteor shower in Switzerland
Photo by Neil Rosenstech on Unsplash

Meteorologists are predicting clear skies tonight, Thursday, August 12th, allowing people across Switzerland to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

This phenomenon occurs when the Earth crosses the path of the debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. 

This event occurs annually between, approximately, July 20th and August 25th, with a peak in intensity between August 11th and 15th. 

The most active night this year is August 12th to 13th.

Experts estimate that tonight around 110 shooting stars could be seen per hour, with two peaks at 10 pm and 3:37 am.

‘Cosmic dust’

The light show is a consequence of “cosmic dust”, not falling or shooting stars. 

Although it might sound like a bad Jamiroquai album or something you might be offered by a man wearing an unbuttoned shirt in a nightclub, “cosmic dust” is actually a scientific term.

“You can think of it as a collision between the earth and the cosmic dust trail,” explains Martin Jäger, from the Mirasteilas Observatory. 

Jäger told Südostschweiz “the swarm is interstellar ‘dirt’”

“You can think of it as a collision between the earth and the cosmic dust trail.”

“That is what stargazers from Earth ultimately perceive as a shooting star,” says Jäger.

How can I catch the meteor shower? 

For best visibility, choose a dark, unlit place and look towards the northeast and Perseus constellation.

Experts suggest you get out there early so as to make sure your eyes adjust to the light. 

If you need help, there are various sky map applications to download to your smartphone.

For a detailed explanation of how to best see the show, check out the following link. 

READ MORE: Top tips for watching the meteor shower in Switzerland

Markus Griesser, head of the Eschenberg observatory in Winterthur ZH, told Swiss tabloid Blick said you will be “able to see the falling stars from everywhere”. 

Griesser said the weather was important, as was proximity to the cities. 

“The probability that you will see a falling star is great,” says Griesser. But the weather also has to take part. “A cloudless view of the sky is ideal.”

“In cities, the shooting stars are often difficult to see because of the many artificial lights.”

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10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

In early May, German transport provider Flixtrain announced it would begin running services from Basel to Berlin (and back) from June. Here’s what you need to know.

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain's Basel to Berlin line

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

When will the services run?

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday, with one connection per day in either direction. 

It will take 8 hours and 45 minutes from Basel Badischer Bahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 

A trip with the German ICE will instead take just over 7 hours. 

The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

OK but will it really cost CHF10?

The price of the ticket grabbed headlines, with Flixtrain saying in its press conference that the almost-nine-hour trip would only cost CHF10 (10 euro). 

Flixtrain spokesperson Sebastian Meyer told Swiss news outlet Watson that tickets would start at CHF10, but more expensive tickets would be available when the CHF10 offerings were sold out. 

“If the cheapest ticket contingent is sold out, the next higher one takes effect. In this way, we can always offer our passengers cheap tickets. Affordable prices are still possible due to the corresponding utilisation of the individual trips.”

In order to get the cheapest possible fare, travellers are advised to book early. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively, although booking in advance can bring the price down to as low as CHF30. 

Where will the train to (and from) Berlin stop?

In either direction, the train will stop at: Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freiburg, Wiesloch, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein. 

What else is different about Flixtrain?

Other than being bright lime green, Flixtrains allow you to take your bicycle with you, which is not allowed on most ICE long-distance trains in Germany. 

Are there any other destinations within Switzerland? 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

More information is available from Flixtrain at the following link. 

The expanded routes can be seen in the following image. 

A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain