Home LATEST NEWS Perseids: a meteor shower to observe this week

Perseids: a meteor shower to observe this week

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The Perseids are one of the most anticipated meteor showers each year and take place from mid-July to late August. Friday night into Saturday will be when Earth moves through the thickest part of the debris left by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, with tiny bits of particles burning in our atmosphere 59 km/ s.

Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1862, orbits the sun once every 133 years. The last time it was in our solar system was in 1992.

Some of the debris may be larger than normal grain-like particles and may create glowing fireballs that light up the sky.

Patience and darkness to observe meteors

This year, the full moon could play tricks on fans, because a full moon means a bright sky, which means only the brightest meteors will be visible. Fortunately, many Perseids tend to be quite bright.

While some people like to look in the direction of the constellation Perseus, to the northeast, this limits the number of meteors that can be seen, as they will have shorter trails.

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To see longer meteors, you need to look at a steeper angle and keep an eye out for the earthgrazersthose meteors that graze the Earth’s atmosphere and leave a long trail behind them.

It’s best to see them early at night, when the sky is dark and they’re moving roughly north to south, and keep the moon behind to block out its glare.

Shooting stars in the sky.

The best conditions for observing shooting stars will be on the night of August 12 to 13. (Archives)

Photo: iStock

The best place should be as dark as possible, away from city lights. Remember to avoid straining your neck while lying down, and put the phones away to get your eyes used to the dark, then be patient.

Under ideal conditions, the Perseids can produce more than 100 meteors per hour.

At this time of year, a few planets are also visible, Jupiter will be low in the east and hard to miss, and Saturn will be in the southeast.

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Free apps like StarWalk Where Sky View have a night mode that displays in red to preserve night vision, and hold your phone up to the sky to identify constellations, planets and more.

Based on information from Nicole Mortillaro

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