The Perseid meteor shower, generally considered the most impressive of the year, approaches its peak on the night of August 11. But due to the effects of moonlight, the best time to see the event in 2022 might actually be shortly before.
According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), the Perseids will peak on the night of August 11-12, although the rain will be active between July 14 and September 1.
Normally, you would expect to see between 50 and 75 visible meteors per hour at the height of the shower, observing from an area with clear skies and low light pollution, the WHA said.
But on the peak night in 2022, the moon will be full, which will make it harder to see the event.
“Our satellite, with its light, can literally spoil the show. Last year, for example, was great because the moon was basically new, so it was not visible: we had no light contamination of the moon,” astronomer Gianluca Masi, of the Virtual Telescope Project, said Newsweek.
“Unfortunately, this year we will have a full supermoon (the last of the year) just like the Perseid peak. The full moon is visible all night, seriously affecting the enjoyment of the meteor shower,” he said. -he declares.
Given the effects of moonlight on the peak night, Masi said observers might only see 10 to 15 meteors per hour at this time, based on his experience with previous similar scenarios.
The astronomer said a better time to see the shower this year might be a few nights before the peak, on the night of August 9, when it might be possible to see 30 meteors per hour in a short window.
“Tonight, the moon will set about 60 minutes before dawn, leaving very dark skies at the end of the night, when radiation from the meteor shower will be at its highest in the sky,” he said. he declares.
These are the “most desirable” conditions for observing the event, according to Masi.
Meteor showers are celestial events in which many meteors cross the sky, appearing to come from a single point, known as the radiant. They occur when Earth passes through streams of cosmic debris left behind by comets and, in rare cases, asteroids.
The tiny fragments of space junk burn through the atmosphere at high speed, producing meteors – the steaks of light we see in the sky that are commonly referred to as shooting stars.
In the case of the Perseids, the radiant is found in the constellation Perseus, which is named after a hero from ancient Greek mythology who was the son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë.
The parent body of the meteor shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years and has a core 26 kilometers in diameter.