As Perseids are the most famous and popular star showers of the year and are often seen throughout the northern hemisphere. And in this summer 2022there will be ideal weather conditions for your observation? Don’t miss the opportunity!
Also known as “Tears of Saint Laurent” due to the chronological proximity with Catholic liturgical feasts celebrated on August 10 in honor of the Christian martyr San Lorenzo (Lourenco de Huesca)and because they occur between the days when it is possible to observe greater intensity and greater number of shooting stars (Perseids) crossing the zenith on temperate summer nights.
In order to be able to detect and understand the movement of these meteors in the night sky, there is, first of all, that choose the ideal place for your observation and know exactly in which direction to look in the starry firmament. But after all, what the origin of these meteors?
What are the shooting stars of the Perseids?
First of all, the Perseids are considered the most popular and therefore the most anticipated star shower of the yearbecause this astronomical event of great attraction coincides with the summer season in the northern hemispherewhich usually offers clean, temperate and generally pleasant nightsalso falling under the period of holidays of most people.
Second, the Perseids’ “star shower” illuminates the night sky in the summer months for more than two thousand years, since it is in this season of the year that the Earth’s orbit crosses the trail of dust and ice particles of small size coming from the tail of the cometa 109P/Swift-Tuttle. This name was given thanks to astronomers Lewis Swift e Horace P. Tuttlethe discoverers of its presence and orbit on July 19, 1863.
Every year, the Earth passes through this path and a part of the rock fragments enters our atmosphere generating the star shower. 109P/Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun, completing one turn each 133 years oldand being its very eccentric orbit – it goes beyond Pluto’s orbit – its last pass through the Inner solar system was in 1992.
This phenomenon is visible between July 17 and August 24 and the peak of Perseid activity is approaching, the peak is expected for the nights of August 12 and 13, 2022in just over a week! O radiant of this meteor showerthat is to say the point from which the traces of its shooting stars seem to emerge, is located in the constellation of Perseus.
How did the meteors or shooting stars that we admire so much form?
When cosmic dust interacts with the Earth’s atmosphere, it gives rise to what we call meteors. These dusts, of small dimensions, cross the outer layers of our atmosphere at speeds of around 59 km/s, or more than 200,000 km/hdisintegrating and becoming incandescent. The resulting trail, or bright lines, are what make this astronomical phenomenon observable and turn it into a sight worth noting!
Over the next few weeks, but above all the nights of August 12 and 13, 2022the night sky will be “pierced”, on average, by 110 meteors per hour from the Perseids. The maximum activity rate could even reach the 200 meteors per hour!
The molecules are thought to dissolve about 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, far from the observer. The friction with atmospheric gases ignites and vaporizes the meteors which emit a large glow in fractions of a second. They are therefore not stars in the proper sense of the term, but glowing dust particles.
Observation site, moon phase and weather conditions
Enjoying the shower of stars is advised to go to a dark place, far from the light pollution of cities. Wait a bit for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Avoid places with lots of trees, buildings or mountains because the visibility of the astronomical phenomenon may be compromised.
Having found the ideal and favorable place for a fruitful observation, it is time to go to bed, wait at least midnight and direct observation of the the darkest areas of the sky, already opposite direction to the moon, generally to the northeast. The best time to contemplate the Perseids will be between midnight and the first light of dawn.
Finally, the lunar phase and weather conditions should favor its observation. Ideally, it should be the New Moon and youclear sky weather. Unfortunately, in 2022, it will precisely coincide with the Full Moon phase. But even so, be sure to venture out into the wild in an attempt to capture a shooting star that defies the moonlight! See our weather forecast always be aware of current weather conditions.