The long-awaited meteor shower PerseidsAlso known as Tears of Saint Lawrence, is about to light up the skies during the August nights. Being one of the most awaited dates for astronomy lovers and celestial observation enthusiasts, this event takes place every year and has a considerably long period of occurrence, from July 14th to September 1st. However, the great cosmic show can be observed in some countries around the world with greater clarity at its peak in the early hours of Saturday (12) to Sunday (13).
What is the Perseids?
A meteor shower is an astronomical event in which large numbers of meteors, also known as shooting stars, appear to emanate from a specific point in the sky, known as the radiant. This occurs when Earth passes through a trail of particles left by a comet in its orbit around the Sun. As these particles enter Earth's atmosphere at high speed, they collide with air molecules, creating bright streaks of light as they burn from the heat generated by friction.
The Perseids, in turn, are one of the most famous and spectacular meteor showers. They occur annually during the month of August and are associated with the comet Swift Tuttle. This comet leaves a trail of debris made up of small fragments of dust and rock in its orbit. When Earth passes through this debris trail, the particles enter our atmosphere, creating a light show in the night sky.
But why Perseids? Well, the name derives from the constellation of Perseus, from which meteors seem to radiate when viewed from Earth. During the peak of Perseid activity, which usually occurs around August 12th, observers can see a significant increase in the number of visible meteors per hour, which makes this meteor shower particularly spectacular and popular with astronomy enthusiasts.
How to see Perseids?
Unfortunately, the phenomenon can only be seen by countries located above the equator, therefore, impossible to witness the beauty of Perseids in Brazil. However, if you are in a location that will have visibility of the event, there are some tips to have a better observation experience.
The key to good Perseids viewing is finding a spot with minimal light pollution. Move away from city lights, look for rural areas or parks where the night sky is darker and visibility is better. There, you'll be able to lie down comfortably, so bring a reclining chair or sleeping bag for a more pleasant experience.
When you're ready to observe, find a position that allows you to have a wide field of view of the sky. Although the Perseids seem to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, you don't have to look directly at the radiant. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, so keeping your eyes moving and the field of view wide is important.
It is advisable to avoid using bright electronic devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to preserve the adaptation of the eyes to darkness. The more time you spend in a dark environment, the more clearly you'll be able to see shooting stars as they streak across the sky.
Finally, an important note is that the Moon can affect visibility. In this regard, this year's event was lucky because the show will coincide with a waning moon night, which is close to ideal for a better observation of the event. Be prepared to be patient. Meteor showers, including the Perseids, involve lulls between bursts of activity. Being aware and allowing yourself to enjoy the tranquility of the night sky is part of the enchantment of observation.
Is there any risk?
If you've wondered if there's a risk of any of these meteors falling to Earth, don't worry. As stated earlier, this event occurs from dust particles and debris left by the comet. Swift Tuttle, that is, they are small parts that when they enter the Earth's atmosphere, they burn due to friction with the air, creating the beautiful bright trails of light in the night sky. This means they pose no risk of impact or damage.
reviewed by Glaucon Vital in 9 / 8 / 23.