While the Perseids are one of the most popular meteor showers, next week we will be able to enjoy a less known, but equally entertaining astronomical event – the Delta Aquarids.
Being that the moon will be out of the way, the next week’s show could be enjoyed in its entirety. The Aquarids are somewhat more fainted, which means that a darker sky would be needed in order to spot them all.
The meteor falls started on the 12th of July, and they will peak this month between the 28th and the 29th just before the weekend. In case one misses it, the Aquarids will continue just until the mid-August.
The best times to observe the meteors will be a couple of hours before dawn. On Wednesday and Thursday next week, there will be up to 12 meteors per hour.
The meteor shower is created by a comet that approaches the sun and defrosts, releasing particles of dust and ice. The materials are brought into the back by the advancement of the comet, leaving a trail pointing away from the warm sun.
The Earth’s gravity attracts the ice and the dust, and while being pulled into the atmosphere, the debris burns up leaving traces of light in the sky. The meteors usually burn up at 60 miles above the surface of our planet.
The comet that creates the Delta Aquarids is somewhat of a mystery. At first, the astronomers believed that it was originating from the Marsden and Kracht comets. However, a more recent theory points out to the 96P Machholz comet.
Another interesting fact about this particular meteor shower is that the trail of the meteor is more persistent than the regular.
At the beginning of August, the Delta Aquarids will overlap with the Perseids, making the sky fire up in a display of lights with separate originating points, slow and fast, bright and fainted, leaving the viewer to choose where to look first, with countless wished to be whispered in the night’s sky.
The Delta Aquarids will radiate from the region of the Skat star from the Aquarius constellation. The Perseids will originate from the Perseus constellation.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Delta Aquarids will appear to come from the south, while the Perseids will be spotted in the northeast or north region of the sky.
The Slooh website will broadcast the event live from its ground observatory situated in the Canary Islands.
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