‘Perseid’ rain will be broadcast from El Roque to raise awareness of the problem of light pollution

Thanks to the collaboration of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) with the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), within the framework of the Interreg EELabs and Life Natura@night projects, the night of 12 to 13 August , the sky-live.tv channel will broadcast the maximum activity of the Perseid meteor shower of Madeira and the Roque de Los Muchachos observatory, located on the peaks of Garafía, informs the IAC in a press release .

10% of the continental surface of the planet, he specifies, “is affected by light pollution, but if we take into account the SkyGlow (brightness of the sky), produced by the emission of artificial light in the atmosphere, this percentage increases to 23″. %”. The consequences of the emission of artificial light to the sky, he adds, “affect biodiversity, our health and, of course, astronomy; and the prospects for the future are not at all optimistic. However, there are regions that are struggling to reverse this trend, as is the case of Macaronesia, in which institutions from different fields have come together in various projects to combat this type of air pollution, quantifying the levels of light pollution in those areas where it should not have arrived and take action to stop its progress.

One such initiative, he says, is to raise public awareness of the problem of light pollution. To this end, on the night of Friday August 12 to Saturday August 13, the sky-live.tv channel will broadcast the Perseid meteor shower live from Pico do Arieiro (Madeira, Portugal). “This year, the full moon will make it difficult to detect the faintest meteors. For this reason, 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 impressive. 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 luminous traces of the Perseids”, comments Serra-Ricart, astronomer at the IAC and coordinator of the EE Labs project.

Like every year around these dates, the IAC note explains, Earth passes through the cloud of dust and rock that Comet Swift-Tuttle left behind in each of its orbits around the Sun. As a result, “on the nights from the middle of July to the end of August, we witness the activity of the Perseids, known as Tears of Saint Laurent. This year, its maximum is expected at 01:00 UT on the morning of August 13. In Europe, therefore, the night of August 12 to 13 will see the maximum activity of this meteor shower. It is known – from standard model calculations – that Perseid activity is around 100 meteors/hour (ZHR or zenith hourly rates) although this year the Full Moon will make observation difficult throughout of the night “.

What are “shooting stars”?

He says that “we call ‘shooting stars’ the small particles of dust, some smaller than grains of sand, which break off from comets – or asteroids – throughout their orbits around the Sun. The cloud of particles ( meteoroids) resulting, due to the melting produced by the solar heat, is dispersed by the orbit of the comet and is crossed by the Earth in its annual journey around the Sun. During this encounter, the dust particles disintegrate by penetrating Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, creating the well-known luminous tracks which 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 km in diameter, it is the largest object that periodically approaches Earth.

Live from the Canary Observatories

As part of the dissemination activities of the Interreg project Energy Efficiency Laboratories (EELabs), the sky-live.tv channel will broadcast this Perseid meteor shower live from Pico do Arieiro, thanks to the support of the Associação de Astronomia de Madeira (AAM) and the Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA ), and the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma), with the collaboration of the Astronomical Dissemination Program / Sodepal-Innovation Service of the Cabildo Insular de La Palma, MAGIC telescopes and CTAO (Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory) .

The meeting will take place next Friday August 12 at 23:15 UT (August 13, 00:15 local time in the Canary Islands and Madeira, 01:15 CEST local time in Europe) on https://sky-live.tv/

EELabs (eelabs.eu), he explains, is a project funded by the Interreg VA MAC program 2014-2020, co-financed by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) of the European Union, under contract number MAC2 /4.6d/238. 5 centers in Macaronesia (IAC, ITER, UPGC, SPEA-Açores, SPEA-Madeira) work at EELabs. The objective of EELabs is to create laboratories to measure the energy efficiency of the artificial pilot light in the protected natural areas of Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores).

The Life Natura@night project is co-financed by the Life program of the European Union, coordinated by SPEA, and has as partners the Câmara de Câmara de Lobos, the Câmara Municipal do Funchal, the Câmara Municipal de Santa Cruz, the Câmara Municipal de Machico, City Hall of Santana, City Hall of Santa Cruz da Graciosa, Regional Directorate of Maritime Affairs, Institute of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Fluxo de Luz y la Sociedad Española de Ornitología . (VIE Natura@night)

Three Spanish supercomputing centers: the Extremeño Center for Advanced Technologies (CETA-CIEMAT), the Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya (CSUC) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will collaborate in the distribution of the retransmission of the web portal (sky-live.tv).

More information on the IAC website.

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