Every year, a cloud of cosmic debris crosses the Earth, and the night sky lights up with Perseids, meteor showers. This phenomenon is also often called a “star” because of the sensation one gets when watching the stars fall into the sky.
This year, the Perseids will peak activity between August 12 and 13 (Friday and Saturday). It can be seen from all over the world, although it is clearly visible from the northern hemisphere.
So, in Brazil, It is easiest to see them in the north and north-east of the country. The best time to observe the phenomenon is when the sky is completely dark.
He must be pure.
But unfortunately this year Perhaps this phenomenon will not be as amazing as last year, because of the full moon – whose brightness hinders the vision of other objects in the sky.
“Unfortunately, this year’s peak of Perseid activity will be in the worst possible conditions for observers,” says Bill Cook, a NASA astronomer who leads the meteorite division.
In the northern hemisphere, for example, observers may see a decrease in the number of meteors this year – perhaps between 10 and 20 per hour instead of between 50 and 60.
NASA joked that stargazers will see a “bright duel” between the Perseid meteor shower and the full moon.
However, there is a chance to see falling stars, and with any luck, even a fireball in the sky.
The Perseids can be seen in most parts of the world, such as Russia – Image: Getty Images via BBC
It all starts with Comet Swift-Tuttle in its 133-year orbit around the Sun.
“What happens is that every year the Earth collides with the orbital path of a comet and all the debris left behind,” says astronomer Edward Bloomer of the Greenwich Museum in London.
When this cosmic debris — ice, dust and bits of rock the size of a grain of rice — reaches the upper layers of the atmosphere, “It caught fire with impressive results, even if it was for a split second sometimes”Bloomer says.
The Perseid meteor shower is special because it is so predictable – it always appears in mid-August, sometimes in late July.
This phenomenon can be estimated with the naked eye and over several consecutive nights.
Sometimes a larger piece of comet debris appears in the sky and “If you’re lucky, you might spot a strange and amazing fireball”says Bloomer, who says he was only able to observe this phenomenon for a few brief seconds, even after years of following the Perseids.
Is it worth trying to observe the phenomenon?
Perseids have been seen in the skies over Anatolia in Turkey for centuries – Image: Getty Images via BBC
“Exactly,” says Bloomer. Turn off all the lights and try.
Perseids are a kind of fireworks display of nature.. The meteor shower is so abundant that an observer can easily detect up to 100 bright stars per hour.
And although meteorites hit the Earth’s atmosphere at an incredible speed of 215,000 km / h, they do not pose any danger.
“Give yourself a gift, lay on a blanket and look up at the sky. It’s so relaxing”Bloomer says.
Tips for Monitoring Perseids
Astronomer Edward Bloomer recommends:
- Choose a location where you can view the sky from east to northeast. If you know the constellations, look for Perseus near Cassiopeia. There are mobile apps that can help you find these constellations
- Pick your spot at dusk, lie on a blanket on the floor and wait until it’s completely dark. You must turn off all lights, cell phones and any other light source
- Relax and enjoy one of nature’s greatest phenomena: you will be able to watch about 100 meteors per hour and even see a fireball
Why is this phenomenon called Persidas?
From ancient China to the Romans, there are many legends that attempt to explain the phenomenon of Perseids – Image: Getty Images via BBC
We call them Perseids Because it seems that shooting stars fall from the constellation Perseus‘, says Bloomer, but this phenomenon has been observed – and named – by many different cultures.
In the Catholic tradition, it is known as the “Tears of Saint Lawrence” in reference to Laurentius, one of the seven deacons of Rome who were martyred in the Roman persecution of Christians in 258.
Since this saint was to be killed at the stake on August 10th, local folklore says that the shooting stars visible at this time of year will be leftover sparks from the fire that devoured him.
But long before the Romans, there were some surprisingly accurate astronomical records from Persia, Babylonia, Egypt, Korea, and Japan—with detailed accounts of meteor showers.
The first sighting of the Perseids is believed to have occurred during the Han Dynasty of China, when astronomers in the year 36 wrote about the nights when “more than 100 meteors flew in the morning.”
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