It’s raining stars in the sky this week. The meteorites that can be seen on August 12 have been seen since the beginning of the era. Conditions are favorable this year.
Attention of vacationers. Around August 12, stars rain in the night sky. This is especially visible from a dark environment, such as a camp site in a sparsely populated area. Then it does not matter whether you are in Spain, France or here; The stars are falling for everyone.
What exactly will we see?
Of course, there are no real stars that fall. Light trails in the sky, lasting no more than one or two seconds, are created when dust particles and small pebbles from the universe penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. The grains of space evaporate and the air molecules begin to glow. The resulting light phenomenon is officially called a meteor.
Every clear night some meteors appear, but sometimes there is a swarm. In its orbit around the Sun, the Earth moves through a cloud of space dust on the same date each year. The meteor shower that can be seen on August 12 is one of the most famous. From a really dark place, you can see dozens of “shooting stars” per hour.
The August meteors have been seen since the beginning of our era, although no one is accustomed to knowing how this phenomenon arose. They are sometimes referred to as the ‘Tears of Saint Lawrence’, after the martyrdom of a Catholic who was murdered on August 10, 258 AD. Today they are officially called Perseids, after the constellation Perseus, from which they seem to have originated.
The fact that meteors are in a swarm that seem to come from a single point in the sky is a perspective effect; In fact, dust particles move in parallel paths through the atmosphere. You see the same effect when you’re driving through a snowdrift: the moving, parallel snowflakes seem to come from a single point.
How long have we known about this phenomenon?
In 1866, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli – best known for discovering “channels” on Mars – discovered that Perseid particles were orbiting the solar system in the same orbit as a bright comet discovered by Louis Swift and Horace Tuttle four years earlier. . Comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun once every 133 years. With each pass, gas and dust particles are released from the porous comet nucleus and spread over time throughout the orbit. The stars falling from the sky next week are actually dust particles from this comet.
2021 is a good year for Farshids, as there is little to no annoying moonlight. The moon appears as a narrow crescent in the western sky on August 12. It disappears below the horizon during the evening. If you are also looking for a really dark area, away from street lamps and other annoying light sources, the faint meteors of the swarm can also be seen. There are many more of these than the obvious rarities.
How can I see the scene better?
It is impossible to predict in advance where and when the meteorite will appear. So it is better to lie on your back on the grass or on a mattress, so that you can overlook the starry sky as much as possible. Because even though meteorites seem to come from the constellation Perseus, they can appear anywhere in the sky. It is true that more and more can be seen during the night.
You don’t need any special equipment to enjoy the scene. Binoculars or telescopes are useless – meteor stars move too fast for that. Clear sky requirement: The phenomenon of light occurs at an altitude of about 80 kilometers in the atmosphere, so if it is cloudy, nothing can be seen. Beautiful weather and a dark place – then success is guaranteed.
With a wide angle lens, you can try to photograph falling stars. Place the camera on a tripod (or rest it on its back on a table), choose the largest possible aperture (ie a small aperture number), and set the exposure time to a few minutes. If a meteor shoots through the field of view while shooting, it will leave a gentle streak of light on the image.
Oh yes, and if you see a meteor, you may make a wish, as the old saying goes. True meteorite lovers, when they see a nice specimen, often wish there was another. This wish always comes true
There will be plenty to see in the starry sky in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, August 11, at about 9:30 p.m., you’ll see bright Venus, low in the west, in the lower right of the crescent. The giant planets Jupiter and Saturn can be seen almost all night in August. Around midnight they are in the south. Jupiter (left) is the brighter of the two. On Friday, August 20, Saturn will be above the nearly full-illuminated moon; A day later, the moon has moved and is in the lower right of Jupiter. Other meteor showers can also be seen this fall: Draconids (October 9), Orionids (October 22), Taurids (November 6), Leonids (November 17), Geminids (December 14), and Ursids (December 23). ). However, most are less exciting than the August 12 Perseids.