Stargazers eager for the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower may need to brace for disappointment.
The meteor shower, which is active from July 14 to Sept. 1, will be most visible at its peak, Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, with around 50 to 100 meteors passing by each hour. However, there will one obstacle for stargazers — the moon.
The full moon on Aug. 11 will wash out many of the meteors visible to the naked eye. According to NASA, the light from the full moon will reduce the peak meteor count to 10-20 per hour.
“It’s difficult to say how much the light will affect visibility because there’s the full moon, but there’s also the light pollution from the city of Toronto,” Professor Sarah Rugheimer, astrophysicist and chair for Public Understanding of Astronomy at York University, told the Star. “The meteor shower is actually probably best to see (on Friday), because of the full moon’s effect.”
The Perseid is the brightest and most constant meteor shower in the Northern Hemisphere. Every year, as the Earth orbits through the debris trail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, “shooting stars” — bits of rock, dust and ice — interact and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, streaking light across the night sky. From our perspective on Earth, the meteors radiate from the constellation Perseus — the shower’s namesake. The Perseid will begin to wane Aug. 21-22 and stop completely by Sept. 1.
So will you be able to see the showers on Aug. 12? Maybe.
“As long as you find a dark area, you should be able to see a few meteors,” Ilana MacDonald of the University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics told the Star.
Rugheimer suggests to go out in the early hours of August 13 between midnight and dawn. If you’re in the city, or somewhere with lots of light pollution, your best bet to catch a glimpse of the showers is to go to a park away from any light, and look in the direction of the constellation Perseus.
So if you’re out late one night in the days to come, don’t forget to look up. You might just catch a glimpse of a shooting star.
Credit belongs to : www.thestar.com