Monday, 19 August, 2019

Looking Up: Moonlight competes with meteor shower

One of the hardest things to do when starting in astronomy is learning what is up in the sky writes Ian Griffin One of the hardest things to do when starting in astronomy is learning what is up in the sky writes Ian Griffin
Sandra Phillips | 09 August, 2019, 17:41

The Perseid Meteor Shower is most visible at its peak on the nights of August 12 and 13.

With ideal viewing conditions, you will usually be able to see between 50 and 75 meteors every hour during peak times. Count for yourself at the main parking lot at Wildwood State Park. The Perseid meteor shower is already underway, but it will reach its peak from August 11-13, with prime time coming that Monday night and Tuesday morning. The action will be toward the northeast.

Even though this year the Perseids meteor shower has been in effect since July 17th, it will reach its peak this weekend, as per CNN. While the Perseids traditionally produce well over 60 meteors per hour, expectations this year are that only the brightest shooting stars will be visible. "However, there are so many meteors during this shower, don't hesitate to view during the evening", Samuhel said. An image from NASA during a previous Perseid meteor shower shows how most appear to originate from the same point, but a few others cross the sky in a different direction. "There will still be plenty of meteors and you will not have to battle as much moonlight". Because you're going to need to plan to wake up early or stay up late, so suit yourself. As the night progresses the radiant is higher in the sky and more meteors may be expected; look anywhere in the sky. It's a meteor. Sometimes still called a "shooting star" or "falling star", realize this is rather a bit of space rock sept up by Earth's gravity, vaporizing with a bright light as it rushes through our upper atmosphere.

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This year, the Perseid meteor shower started on the 17July and will end around the 24August.

Like Jupiter, Saturn will also appear in the sky once night falls and be visible until dawn, east of Jupiter. "If you end up in the constellation Perseus, there's a good chance you've seen a Persied", NASA explained. Just lay on your back and lookup. However, because of the brightness of the "waxing gibbeous" moon, it might be slightly more hard to see all of the meteors. Literally. The further you are from city lights, the more easily you will be able to see the shooting stars, so take a vehicle and go somewhere in the countryside.

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