August is truly a wonderful month because soon enough, the midnight blue of the sky will be lit up as shooting stars crash through it.
The Perseid 2019 meteor shower is just around the corner and even though they aren’t really ‘shooting stars’, they’re still beautiful to watch.
The Perseids are a group of meteors and some debris from comets and you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to catch a glimpse of them.
Comets are similar to dirty snowballs. While traveling around our solar system, their presence lingers long after they’re gone, in the ice and rocks they leave behind.
As Earth moves into this cluster of remnants, we’ll be able to see them when they crash into the atmosphere and explode in such a manner that they look like the universe’s own display of fireworks.
Taking its name from the Perseus constellation, this shower happens whenever we pass through the belt of debris which is about 27 km in width. This is left behind by a comet called Swift-Tuttle which takes more than a century to complete its orbit.
Usually, if you live in a place where the night sky is dark and clear, you’ll be able to see around 100 of these shooting stars every hour.
But according to NASA, since the shower is happening on August 15th, the same night that the Full Moon will rise, visibility will be lower than usual as the Moon’s light will eclipse the debris.
However, we’ll still be able to see at least 20 every hour. Luckily, since this is a very bright shower, we won’t miss it completely. The fireworks are definitely still on.
In the North, the showers can be seen from 2 AM till sunrise. People in the South won’t be so lucky because the shower will be duller there. As per NASA’s information, the best time to catch it would be in the small hours from August 11th to 13th.
According to their forecasts, we’ll get an hour of perfect darkness from around 3 AM on the 11th of August till dawn breaks to see the shower. The same thing will occur on the next day but instead of an hour, the shower will only be visible for a few minutes.
And thanks to NASA you can keep up with the showers from wherever you are just by following their Meteor Watch page on Facebook.
To get the full effect of the shower, try to get to a place which is far from the flaring lights of the city. Take a comfy blanket to lie down on and switch off all your devices.
In less than half an hour your eyes will have adjusted to the dark and you’ll be perfectly set to watch nature’s own fireworks.
While you can take a telescope or pair of binoculars with you, they won’t really help because they only offer a restricted view of the night sky.