The maximum activity of the Perseids will take place this year at early morning from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. August with two drawbacks: the full moonwhich will make it difficult to see the faintest meteors, and the increase in light pollutionin respect of which the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) “is not at all optimistic”.
10% of the planet’s continental surface is affected by light pollution, but if we take into account the brightness of the sky which produces the emission of artificial light in the atmosphere, this percentage increases to 23%, reports Friday the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.
The ace consequences of artificial light emission skyward affect biodiversity, health and, of course, astronomy and future prospects are not at all optimistic, regrets the IAC.
However, the Astrophysics Center points out that there are regions are struggling to reverse this trend as is the case with Macaronesiawhere institutions from different fields have come together in several projects to combat this type of air pollution, quantifying the levels of light pollution in areas where it should not have reached and taking action to stop its progress.
One of those initiatives consists of raising public awareness of the problem of light pollution and to this end, on the night of Friday August 12 to Saturday August 13, the channel sky-live.tv will be broadcast on lead the Perseid meteor shower 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 Projects Interreg EELabs there LIFE Natura@night.
“This year, the Full Moon will make it difficult to observe 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 brightest ones, which will continue to ‘to be impressive”, comments Miquel Serra-Ricart, IAC astronomer and coordinator of the EELabs project.
How to observe
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 trails of the Perseids, advises the astronomer.
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 behind 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 Saint Lawrence“.
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 Perseuswhere their radiant is located (the point in the sky from which they seem to have originated), but they have their origin in comet Swift-Tuttle, discovered in 1862, and which, with an approximate size of 26 kilometers in diameter, is the largest object that periodically approaches Earth.