#astronomy Good for the Perseids – Sky & Telescope

August 9, 2021 - Comment

Contacts:Diana Hannikainen, Observing Editor, Sky & Telescope+1 617-500-6793 x22100, diana@skyandtelescope.org Rick Fienberg, Press Officer, American Astronomical Society+1 202-328-2010 x116, rick.fienberg@aas.org Gary Seronik, Consulting Editor, Sky & Telescopegseronik@skyandtelescope.org Word to Editors/Producers: This launch is accompanied by high-quality graphics; see the tip of this launch for the photographs and hyperlinks to obtain. The Perseid meteor bathe, a

Diana Hannikainen, Observing Editor, Sky & Telescope
+1 617-500-6793 x22100, diana@skyandtelescope.org

Rick Fienberg, Press Officer, American Astronomical Society
+1 202-328-2010 x116, rick.fienberg@aas.org

Gary Seronik, Consulting Editor, Sky & Telescope

Word to Editors/Producers: This launch is accompanied by high-quality graphics; see the tip of this launch for the photographs and hyperlinks to obtain.

The Perseid meteor bathe, a celestial occasion beloved by thousands and thousands of skywatchers world wide, is about to make its annual return to the night time sky. The bathe is predicted to succeed in its peak earlier than daybreak on Thursday, August 12th, although the show may placed on a nice present for an evening or two earlier than and after. Late on the night time of August 11−12, you may see a Perseid each minute or so. This yr circumstances are as close to to excellent as may be: The waxing crescent Moon units round 10 p.m. native time, that means darkish, Moonless skies till daybreak.

Start anticipating meteors quickly after night twilight ends. By then the bathe’s radiant — its perspective level of origin within the constellation Perseus — has risen above the northeastern horizon. The few Perseids that seem this early shall be spectacularly lengthy “earthgrazers” that skim alongside the highest of the ambiance. The upper the radiant, the extra meteors you’ll see — so when Perseus climbs increased within the northeast, particularly after midnight, extra meteors will seem everywhere in the sky.

To benefit from the Perseids, you want no gear however your eyes; binoculars and telescopes present too small an space of sky to be helpful for meteor-watching. Discover a darkish spot away from vivid lights with a wide-open view throughout if attainable. “You’ll wish to make your self snug to completely benefit from the present — craning your neck for a lot of hours can smash your expertise,” cautions Diana Hannikainen (pronounced HUHN-ih-KY-nen), Sky & Telescope’s Observing Editor. Carry a reclining garden chair or a floor fabric so you may lie again. Bundle up in blankets or a sleeping bag, each for mosquito shielding and for heat; clear nights can develop surprisingly chilly even in August. Subsequent, calm down, be affected person, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness.

“These ‘taking pictures stars’ can seem anyplace and all over the place within the sky — you don’t must look towards the radiant to see them,” says Hannikainen. “So the perfect path to observe is wherever your sky is darkest, normally straight up.” Faint Perseids seem as tiny, fast streaks. Occasional brighter ones may sail throughout the sky for a number of seconds and depart a quick prepare of glowing smoke.

Whenever you see a meteor, hint its path again to its origin. In the event you finally come to the constellation Perseus (see the accompanying sky chart), you’ve simply witnessed a Perseid. Sometimes you may spot an intruder. The weaker Delta Aquariid and Kappa Cygnid showers are additionally energetic throughout Perseid season, and there are all the time just a few random, “sporadic” meteors too. All of those come from different components of the sky. It’s a enjoyable train to hint meteors again to their radiants: If the tracks don’t lead you to Perseus, they aren’t Perseids!

Any gentle air pollution or cloudiness will lower down the variety of meteors seen. However the brightest ones shine proper by gentle air pollution (although normally not by clouds). In actual fact, a NASA evaluation of all-sky photos taken from 2008 to 2013 reveals that the Perseids ship extra vivid meteors (people who outshine any star) than another annual meteor bathe.

How and Why the Perseids Occur

Meteors are attributable to tiny, sandgrain- to pea-size bits of dusty particles hanging the highest of Earth’s ambiance roughly 80 miles (130 km) up. Every Perseid zips in at 37 miles per second, glowing because it burns to soot and creating a fast, white-hot streak of superheated air. The nuggets in Grape Nuts cereal are a detailed match to the estimated dimension, coloration, and texture of typical meteor-shower particles.

The Perseid bits had been shed way back by Comet Swift-Tuttle and are distributed all alongside the comet’s orbital path across the Solar. Earth passes by this tenuous “river of rubble” yearly in mid-August. The comet is so named as a result of it was independently found by Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle in July 1862.

Learn extra on this yr’s Perseids within the August 2021 concern of Sky & Telescope and on S&T’s web site: Positive Present Anticipated from the Perseid Meteor Bathe.

Sky & Telescope is making the illustrations under out there to editors and producers. Permission is granted for nonexclusive use in print and broadcast media, so long as applicable credit (as famous) are included. Net publication should embody a hyperlink to skyandtelescope.org.

Perseid radiantThe Perseid meteors seem to stream away from the bathe’s “radiant” level close to the border of Perseus and Cassiopeia. Click on on the picture for bigger star-chart model. Additionally out there in HD format.
Sky & Telescope illustration

Perseid meteor animation Click on on the nonetheless for an 18-second video animation of simulated meteors, displaying easy methods to find the radiant of the Perseid meteor bathe, and the way these “taking pictures stars” will seem within the sky.
Sky & Telescope illustration

Handful of Grape NutsThe nuggets of Grape Nuts cereal are proxy for the cometary mud grains that create meteor showers.
Sky & Telescope

For skywatching info and astronomy information, go to SkyandTelescope.org or decide up Sky & Telescope journal, the important information to astronomy since 1941. Sky & Telescope and SkyandTelescope.org are revealed by the American Astronomical Society, together with SkyWatch (an annual newbie’s information to the night time sky) in addition to books, star atlases, posters, prints, globes, apps, and different merchandise for astronomy fanatics.

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