Perseids of August: when one can see the brightest summer star fall

August 11

On the night of August 12th to 13th, the Perseid meteor shower will be seen in the sky of Moscow. It is the brightest summer meteor shower, with the peak in the middle of August.

The Perseids can only be observed once a year, when the Earth crosses the orbit of comet 109Р / Swift–Tuttle. A travel through the swarm of comet particles lasts from several days to several weeks.

“The Perseids promise to be the best star fall of this year. On the 8th of August, the Moon will go through a new moon phase and will not interfere with the observation of meteors. Under favorable weather conditions, you can see up to 110 meteors per hour, or one or two meteors per minute,”the press office of the Moscow Planetarium informed.

No special technical equipment is required to observe the star fall. In the absence of clouds, the Perseids will be visible with the naked eye. The meteoric activity peak is expected at 11.00 pm on the 12th of August. This is the best time for observation when the rate of meteors in the sky reaches its highest value.

The Perseids derived their name from the constellation of Perseus. When observing the falling stars from the Earth, it seems that they fly out from this particular area of ​​the sky.

The radiant point for the Perseid meteor shower. Latitude of Moscow at 11.30 pm on the 12th of August. Moscow Planetarium

In fact, the Perseids are formed as a result of our planet passing through a plume of dust particles released by comets. These tiny dust particles burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and glowing lines — meteors appear in the sky. It is them that are mistaken for falling stars.

The Perseids can only be observed once a year, when the Earth crosses the area of the meteor stream. As our planet passes through denser areas of particles, the number of falling stars increases dramatically. To observers, it looks like a real star shower.

“The glow of some particularly bright meteors lasts up to several seconds, such meteors are called fire balls. You can count many falling stars in the clear August night,”the Moscow Planetarium explained.

Meteor swarm of comet particles on the way to the Earth. Moscow Planetarium

The Moscow Planetarium is a modern, well-equipped scientific and educational center for astronomy in Russia. Its territory hosts the “Sky Park” astronomical museum with its own observatory, the Urania Museum, the Big and Small Star Halls, a 4D cinema and a conference hall.

The planetarium has got over 100 meteorite samples. The exposition contains individual specimens of different types and classifications, as well as particles of meteor showers. The gem of the collection are meteorites from the Moon and Mars, rarely found in other collections. You can see the meteorites in the Urania Museum.


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