CONNECTION – The thief’s coronavirus has robbed Americans of many of their summer pleasures, but it can’t steal Perseid’s annual meteor shower as it reaches its peak when 50 to 75 shooting stars per hour can be seen in the skies over Connecticut.
Whether you will be able to see this dazzling show in the celestial canopy on Earth depends on the weather in your area during the peak of August 11-13. The National Weather Service says the sky over southern Connecticut will be cloudy during this time, with a 30 percent chance of rain. Conditions should be a little better the further north you travel in Connecticut.
The hours between midnight and sunrise are the best time to scan the sky for the summer classic, which is known to produce fireballs. The moon is in its last quarter phase and this will prevent the sky from showing a little. But the Perseids tend to be bright, so you should be able to see quite a number of them.
The brightest meteors are known as “fireballs”
NASA research suggests that the Perseids are rich in fireballs because of the size of the Swift / Tuttle core – about 16 miles (or 26 kilometers) in diameter.
“Most other comets are much smaller, with nuclei only a few kilometers away. As a result, Comet Swift-Tuttle produces a large number of meteoroids, many of which are large enough to produce fireballs,” he told NASA.
Although watching is best after midnight from anywhere in the sky, the evening hours can offer a special treat known as a healer. They are rare, but a sight to behold – a long, slow and colorful meteor that walks horizontally across the sky.
Peak dates are not the only time to see the Perseids moving in the sky from mid-July and will last until August 24. So consider watching the latest dates on the peaks and especially after August 17, when there is no moonlight, the sky predominates, according to Earthsky.org.
The devastating meteor shower of Delta Aquarid continues in the middle of the month, so you can see some of them. Delta Aquarids are not as prolific as the Perseids, but up to 10 percent of them leave resistant trains – glowing paths with ionized gases that can last a second or two after the meteor passes.
The dark sky is best for watching meteor showers. In Connecticut, a good option is the Talcott Mountain Science Center at 324 Montevideo Road, Avon, on top of Mount Talcott. Another great place to see the sky in Nutmeg is Burying Hill Beach, located on Burying Hill Road and Beachside Avenue in Westport.
Every shower can be seen from anywhere in the sky, although Earthsky.org advises placing yourself in the shadow of the moon near a barn or other structure. Meteors will be more visible.
The other thing that is required for successful meteor monitoring is patience. NASA’s Cook told Space.com that watching meteor showers requires investment in preparation and time, but is “the simplest form of astronomy out there.”
There is no need for a telescope or binoculars, which are actually a disadvantage, because the more sky you can see, the greater the chance of seeing a meteor. Give yourself half an hour to 45 minutes to adjust to the dark sky. And, Cook advises, avoid looking at your phone while you wait to see a shooting star.
“You know, it’s something about meteor observation: you let your eyes adapt to the darkness and what kills [meteor viewing for] “Most people these days are looking at their phones, and this bright screen just totally blurs your night vision,” Cook said.
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Every meteor shower has a ray point from which the meteors appear to originate; with the Perseids, this is the constellation Perseus. But the farther you go from it, the better your chances of seeing longer stripes and fireballs.
Meteors are produced when the Earth passes through debris left by comets as it orbits the Sun. The Perseids are made from dust from Comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which last entered our solar system in 1992 and will not return until July 2126.
There are no meteor showers in September, but autumn offers many opportunities to see shooting stars, especially during the Geminid meteor shower. The only thing the Perseids have over Gemini is that they appear in the summer when it is comfortable outside, but it is known that the shower from December 7 to 17 produces up to 120 multicolored meteors at its peak.