Space news brings us the annual Perseids meteor shower this week! And specialists say that this year’s show is one of a kind. Why? Because there is no moon to steal the shower’s thunder! So if you have free nights this week it might be a good idea to spend some of them looking at the sky with someone you love.
If you want a “front row” seat to the main event, you might consider going out in between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The only requirement is to have a soft spot on the ground where you can lie down and enjoy the sight.
If you want to know exactly where to look, the meteors will be coming from Cassiopeia and Perseus constellations in the northeast. You don’t need to know exactly where to look, but just start with that direction and we can guarantee that stars will start shooting soon enough.
A meteor shower usually occurs when the Earth enters a zone that contains the remains of comets. Comets are practically rocks and sand held together by ice. The sun melts the ice and the rocky parts just blow away into space. But when comets enter our atmosphere they start shining like a Christmas tree and you have a wonderful show to watch.
If you’re interested in when the show is going to be at its peak, we mentioned that in between August 12/13 you might get the best view. The absolute best moment to watch it is Wednesday night after midnight.
There was an astronomer, Jeremie Vaubaillon, who accidentally predicted that there might be an increased number of meteors at around 12:40 UTC Wednesday night. It is still unclear whether this predicament is one hundred percent valid, but you can take your shot and go see for yourself. There is nothing to lose anyway. Except, of course, the spectacular scene.
The predicted number of meteors you might see averages in between 60 and 100 per hour. They have no pattern, they just simply race across the sky at random moments.
The event is truly exciting, but don’t get too excited. It is not like you are going to go outside and see meteors falling from everywhere every second and start thinking about the end of the world. You are going to see about one meteor every minute, which is a spectacular sight!
And don’t forget the darkness! Try to be in a relatively dark area, away from the city if possible. City lights and pollution make asteroids more difficult to spot from within cities, but it won’t make them impossible to see. If you can get to a darker place to witness the show, do it!
Photo Credits wikimedia.org