An annual astronomical event, the Perseid meteor shower, is due to happen this week, on Wednesday, August 12th, and Thursday, August 13th. It will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere, while the phenomenon is famous for its bright luminous appearance.
Each year, Earth’s orbit around the Sun passes through a comet’s cloud of a dusty accumulation of relatively large rock fragments, and when those rocky particles enter our atmosphere and burn up, they create meteors. In a romantic nuance, the meteor is also called a falling or shooting star – thus the expression “to wish upon a shooting star.”
The meteors are heated to incandescence through friction thus becoming visible. While still outside the atmosphere, the particles are known as meteoroids. The larger particles to reach the ground are called meteorites, whereas a meteor of considerable brightness and duration has the denomination of “fireball.”
Meteoroids are composed of stone and iron, with other metals present in small proportions. However, another variant of meteoroids are made out of stone, but they have a large amount of carbon and are called carbonaceous chondrites.
Now, a meteor shower is an increase in the number of meteors observed in a particular area of the sky. The characteristics of the meteors in this instance appear to be traceable to a point in the sky, known as radiant point. Meteor showers are named after the constellations from where they originate. Moreover, the Perseid meteor shower’s radiant lies in the constellation Perseus.
The show of the Perseid meteor shower will be really intense, as it has been predicted that one can witness one meteor every few minutes to 100 meteors an hour traversing the night sky.
As the night sky will be darker this week, because of the new Moon, the particular meteor shower will be easier to see. One might want to find a dark place to experience this remarkable astronomical event, as far away as possible from city lights. Try to find a secluded area, with no lights. If you look northeast, you will be able to spot the meteors, without having to use a telescope. The meteors will be visible to the human eye because of their rapid movement.
The view will be even more enticing right before dawn, however there’s a fairly good chance of catching the show all night, from any point in the Northern hemisphere.
So, all in all, if you want to see a brilliant display of a meteor shower, you should try to stay up late, or, otherwise, get up really early – it will be worth it!
Photo Credits macwallpapers.xyz