One more year approaches one of the most typical events of summer: the star rain August, better known as Perseids oh Tears of Saint Laurenta spectacle that can be seen in the skies of the northern hemisphere of the planet and which is usually marked on the calendar by many amateurs of astronomy and night photography.
What day can look better?
Perseid activity encompasses from July 17 to August 24, with periods of more intensity (more meteors) as we move away from those days. The period of maximum activity in 2022 is scheduled for the morning of August 12 to 13. However, this year there is bad news for fans or the curious. During this day, the Moon will be almost full and its reflected light will make observation difficult. However, many meteors are also often observed several days before and after peak activity.
Why does the meteor shower happen?
Each meteor shower is associated with the passage of a comet, that is to say a star made up of dust, rocks and ice that orbits around the Sun. When a comet approaches the star, the ice covering it begins to sublimate, changing from a solid state directly to a gaseous state, which causes a multitude of fragments and particles dispersed in space. When these fragments come into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, the friction of gas in the atmosphere heats them up and disintegrates them, leaving the trails we commonly call shooting stars.
Why are they called Perseids?
The contrails caused by the remnants of comet Swift-Tuttle, which is 26 kilometers in diameter, are called Perseids. It was discovered by Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell in 1862 and it approaches Earth every 133 years, leaving a new cloud of debris that our planet passes through every summer. The meteors have their radiant (point from which the shooting stars seem to start) in the constellation of Perseus, which in Greek mythology represents a demi-god son of Zeus and Danae, a mortal. He is known to have cut off the head of Medusa.
Why are they also called Tears of San Lorenzo?
The peak of Perseid activity occurs very close to the Christian feast of San Lorenzo, celebrated on August 10. On this day of the year 258, San Lorenzo was martyred in Rome, burned on a grill. According to legend, the Christian martyr said during his ordeal: “It is roasted, unheated, flipped and eaten“(“It’s roasted, it seems, turn it over and eat it”). In the Christian collective imagination, the shooting stars are interpreted as the tears that San Lorenzo shed during his execution and that the following days they fall from the sky.
Where can you best see it?
For its observation, it is recommended to move away from towns and villages to leave behind the light pollution that blurs the night sky. Other than that, they can be seen with the naked eye by keeping an eye out for any point in the sky, although most meteors are believed to originate from the constellation Perseus, so looking up is recommended. north or northeast.