Shooting stars: it’s time to observe the Perseids

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Image composite de la pluie des Perséides de 2021. © majochudy, Adobe Stock

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[EN VIDÉO] Discover the Perseid meteor shower The meteor shower of the constellation Perseus: the Perseids. These meteors are especially spectacular, especially in the summer! Everyone has heard of the Perseids, one of the most active meteor showers of the year, raining down on our skies every summer, up to 100 meteors per hour under the best conditions. In other words, a very beautiful shower of shooting stars, a wonderful spectacle of nature that invites you to lie down on the (dry) grass, with family or friends, in the company of crickets, to daydream immersed in the sky bright with stars, in search of these stealthy, luminous comet debris. A celestial show rich in interest that, we can never insist enough, requires finding a remote and quiet place, in the countryside, away from the noise and fury of the light pollution of the big cities, to enjoy it to the fullest. ..this year, there’s a big problem: the Full Moon that will shine from evening to morning during the night of peak activity, August 12th and 13th, significantly reducing the chance of seeing a lot of shooting stars. Thus, instead of the 50 to 60 (and even more than 100, depending on the year) micrometeorites visible per hour in the second part of the night, you will have to make do with the brightest ones, reduced to ten per hour. The day before and the day after the expected peak, conditions will not be better, because the almost full Moon will continue to be so problematic to spot. And since it is not possible to turn it off or protect yourself from it, it will be necessary, therefore, to try… Or choose another night, when the Moon is thinner and sets earlier. best time to see the Perseids So don’t miss it, because the Perseid meteor shower extends from July 17 to August 22, which offers several nights without a Moon or, with a more discreet presence (in growing up or in the first trimester, he goes to bed quite early) as at this time. moment It is true that the beautiful shower of shooting stars is not yet as active as during the nights of August 12-13, traditionally, but there are many opportunities to observe them in numbers. Plus, there’s no need to wait until this peak date to benefit from one of the most beautiful shooting star showers of the year. As every year, whatever night you choose to to observe (and count) the Perseids – – before, after or on the date of the peak of activity -, you need to wait until the rise and rise of the constellation Perseus, which gave its name to swarm, because it is within it that the radiant is found. located, in the second part of the night, therefore, to see as much as possible. It is at this time that the Earth enters the densest region of the debris field left by the passages of Comet Swift-Tuttle (it returns every 133 years) this summer, in the latter part of the night, there are not only shooting stars . to see: In fact, several planets pass one after the other across the sky to form a beautiful alignment on the ecliptic at dawn. The first of them to rise is the wonderful Saturn, from 10 pm, followed by Jupiter, unmissable for its brilliance, from midnight. Red Mars quietly arrives around 1:30 am, and finally bright Venus appears in Dawn’s lightning (“rose fingers”, Homer), around 5:30 am You can’t either miss, through binoculars, a giant comet (C/2017 K2 PanStarrs) visible in Scorpio since the beginning of the night! warm clothes. The Perseid meteor shower in 2016 Article by Xavier Demeersman published on August 12, 2016 On the night of August 11 to 12, the activity of the Perseid meteor shower will be in the at its peak: around 200 shooting stars per hour could be seen. Twice as much as other years. A week after the 26th night of stars, the sky offers us a new spectacle: a shower of shooting stars. Remember that this recurring phenomenon has nothing to do with shooting stars… They are micrometeorites , mostly as large as a grain of sand or a grain of rice, which disintegrate in the upper atmosphere. A few, the brightest in fact, can be the size of a fist. The ones in August belong to the Perseid meteorite swarm, because their radiant is located in the direction of the Perseus constellation. It is not the only shower of the year, but since it occurs on mild summer nights, during the holidays, and its rate of visible meteors per hour often exceeds 100 during its peaks of activity, s ‘has become very famous. This year, the maximum is expected on the night of August 11 to 12. Experts are excited because at the peak of the event, in the latter part of the night, these small grains left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle would need to be twice as numerous as usual to penetrate the atmosphere at an average speed of 59. km/s. The forecasts have 200 meteors per hour. Why this resurgence? Because under the gravitational influence of the planets, especially that of Jupiter, the dust streams of 1079, 1479 and 1862 left by the passages of the comet in the inner Solar System, approached our Planet. Besides, if so, the show promises to be twice as wonderful. As long as the weather is favorable and light pollution is minimal. As for the Moon (in conjunction with Saturn and Mars), annoyed by its luminosity, it will disappear below the horizon after midnight, that is, when Perseus will gain height… To take advantage of this, just to arm be patient and get comfortable, lie down and dress warmly so you can see as much of the sky as possible.Interested in what you just read?
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