Science

It's going to shower meteors August 12

It's going to shower meteors August 12

Some meteor showers are slow, but we are moving into the Perseid stream so they are coming at us quite swiftly.

The Perseids were the first meteor shower to be linked to a comet when astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli spotted their association with Swift-Tuttle in 1862. The meteors are made of tiny dust and other particles from the tail of the comet as it orbits around the sun.

Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar are the best places to watch the shower because of the low rate of light pollution and clear sky-view without any urban light pollution.

Hundreds of the meteors are expected to be visible from across the world, weather depending. "You might be lucky or unlucky; that's the way with meteors".

The greatest numbers of meteors will be between midnight and just before dawn on the mornings of August 11-13.

James Bianchi
James Bianchi

But experts have warned that with the moon at three-quarters full, it may make it harder this year to spot the meteors as they fly past. However, the meteors will streak across the sky in all directions, so it doesn't really matter. "It can take your eyes as long as 20 to 30 minutes to fully adapt to darkness after being in a normally lit room".

The Perseids usually have a flare rate of about 80-100 per hour at 60 km per second speed, but this year flare rates are reduced by half owing to the bright moon, he added.

The Perseid meteor shower is poised to reach its peak this weekend (12/13 August), giving stargazers a chance to get a rare glimpse of a spectacular night-time display.

If you do miss the Perseids this year, the next big meteor show will be the Leonids in November.

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