Sunday, August 1, 2021

August: ready for the shooting stars?

August has begun: the days of the Perseids are approaching! Shooting stars will begin to be visible from early August through the middle of the month, peaking on the night of August 12-13. During this night, between 60 and 100 meteors will be visible every hour!

There is no astronomical phenomenon easier to observe than shooting stars: the only things you need are a deckchair to get comfortable, a lot of patience and a sky without light pollution.

 The best time to observe them is after 10pm, when the sky starts to get very dark. The radiant of the swarm is located in the direction of the constellation Perseus, but the brightest meteors will be visible near the zenith. All you have to do is raise your head, look up and enjoy the show!

Despite their name, shooting stars are not stars that are falling on our planet. The Perseids originate when the Earth in the course of its orbit passes through the cloud of dust left in space by the comet Swift-Tuttle. Dust particles hit the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of 60 km/s. As they warm up they begin to emit radiation, appearing as shooting stars.

Credit: Brad Goldpaint (Goldpaint Photography).

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