Full Moon and Light Pollution Will Darken the Perseids This Year

The maximum activity of the Perseids will take place this year in the early hours of August 12-13 with two disadvantages: the full Moon, which will make it difficult to observe the faintest meteors, and the increasing light pollution, about which the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) “is not at all optimistic”.

10% of the continental surface of the planet is affected by light pollution, but if we take into account the luminosity of the sky which produces the emission of artificial light in the atmosphere, this percentage increases to 23%, reports this report Friday IAC it is a statement.

artificial light to the sky

The consequences of the emission of artificial light in the sky affect biodiversity, health and, of course, astronomy and the prospects for the future are not at all optimistic, regrets the IAC.

However, the Astrophysics Center points out that there are regions that are struggling to reverse this trend, as is the case of Macaronesia, where institutions from different fields have come together in various projects to combat this type of pollution. atmospheric, quantifying the levels of light contamination in areas where it should not have reached and taking steps to stop its progress.

One of these initiatives consists of raising public awareness of the problem of light pollution and to this end, on the night of Friday 12 to Saturday 13 August, the channel sky-live.tv will broadcast the Perseid meteor shower live from Pico do Arieiro (Madeira, Portugal) and the Roque de los Muchachos observatory in La Palma.

This initiative is a collaboration between the IAC and the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds, within the framework of the projects Interreg EELabs there LIFE Natura@night.

full moon

“This year’s Full Moon will make it difficult to detect the faintest meteors. Because of this, the frequency of the Perseids will be lower – about one every 15 minutes – and we will only observe the brighter ones, which will continue to be impressive”, comments Miquel Serra-Ricart, astronomer at the IAC and coordinator of the EELabs project.

As in previous years, you have to find a place far from urban centers, fix your gaze on a point in the sky and wait patiently to see some of the luminous traces of the Perseids, advises the astronomer.

The Perseids and Comet Swift-Tuttle

The IAC recalls that like every year at this time, the Earth passes through the cloud of dust and rocks that Comet Swift–Tuttle left in each of its orbits around the Sun.

As a result, in the nights of mid-July to late August, the activity of the Perseids, known as “Tears of San Lorenzo”.

In Europe, the maximum activity of this meteor shower will occur on the night of August 12 to 13 when, according to the calculations of the standard models, the activity of the Perseids is around 100 meteors / hour although, this year , the Full Moon will make it difficult to observe all night.

Small dust particles, some smaller than grains of sand, are called “shooting stars” that shoot off comets or asteroids as they orbit the Sun.

The resulting cloud of particles (meteoroids), due to melting produced by solar heat, is dispersed by the comet’s orbit and is traversed by Earth in its annual journey around the Sun.

During this encounter, the dust particles disintegrate as they speed through the Earth’s atmosphere, creating the well-known light trails that receive the scientific name of meteors.

The Perseids take their name from the constellation of Perseus, where their radiant is located (the point in the sky from which they seem to have originated), but they have their origin in the comet Swift-Tuttle, discovered in 1862, and which, with a Approximately 26 kilometers in diameter, it is the largest object that periodically approaches Earth. EFEvert

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