It is early August, and means that the Perseid meteor shower is active and ready to peak. Perseids are one of the best and brightest, And realizes that we can now use them to add a little surprise and distraction in some of the more depressing times.
This famous shower comes around this time every year as the Earth flows through a debris cloud that is missed by the giant comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle. Bits of dust, pebbles and other cosmic detritus run into our atmosphere, burning into the night sky in brief, bright ridges and even full-blown fire shells.
Perseid meteor showers create a celestial view around the world
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In 2020, Perseids are expected to peak on August 11 and 12, when the moon should be less than half full.
The popularity of the shower is a combination of the fact that it is one of the strongest, with an average of 100 visible meteors per hour, and this coincides with hot summer nights in the Northern Hemisphere. The waning moon is likely to wash away many otherwise visible meteorites, but still leaves a lot that should be easy to see if you plan a bit.
In general, a good strategy is to look for Perseus as late in the evening as possible, but still before the moonlight in your place. So in New York, for example, you want to stay away from as much light pollution as possible until about 11 o’clock on Tuesday evening (peak night) because the moon will rise about an hour later at 12:08 on Wednesday. (You can view sunset and moonrise for your location with a site like TimeandDate.com.)
You can try to get the moon out by healthying yourself next to a building, tree, or anything else that keeps that moonlight out of your retina.
After the middle of the month the moon will begin to disappear completely, and although the Perseids will overtake their chief, they will remain active and visible. This shower at half peak with a completely dark sky can be like a full peak with a bright moon, so you don’t think Of course Go to the peak at night to catch it.
Once you decide a place with the right time and minimal light interference and a wide view of the sky, just lie back, adjust your eyes and relax. Pillows, blankets, lounge chairs and refreshments make for an ideal experience. It can take about 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to darkness, so be patient. If you follow all my advice, you are guaranteed to see a meteor.
It doesn’t really matter where you look in the sky, as long as you have a broader view. That said, Perseids will appear to radiate from Perseus, the hero of the constellation. If you want to practice being an advanced meteor spot, locate Peres and try to focus there while you are watching. Then just try to look without focusing anywhere. See if you notice a difference. We are still dealing with the unpredictability of nature, so the results will vary.
Probably the best part of Persids every year is the gorgeous photos we get from talented astronomers who spend long nights outside.
As always, if you capture any of the beauties yourself, please share them with me on Twitter or Instagram @EricCMack.