Over the weekend, the biggest shower of shooting stars in years.  How, where and when do we notice meteors?

Poles fell in love with observing amazing astronomical phenomena. This enlightening pastime gained popularity especially during the coronavirus pandemic when we were self-isolating. Ahead of us is another exciting event not to be missed.

What do we notice?

On the night from Saturday to Sunday (12/13.08) it is worth reserving a free moment, getting out of the urban area, sitting comfortably and gazing at the sky, because “the stars will fall on us”. Although the main part of the phenomenon will only last a few tens of minutes, you will be able to admire smaller and larger meteors for almost the entire night.

Meteorites, colloquially called shooting stars, this time are Perseids, that is, nothing other than material ejected from Comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which in 1992 flew past the Sun and through Earth’s orbit. They left behind meteorites, that is, small pollen grains and stones no more than a few centimeters in size, similar to tea grains or breakfast cereals.

It promises to be an amazing sight in the sky. picture. pixabay.

Each meteorite, due to the very high speed of 212,000 kilometers per hour, heats the surrounding air. When it reaches 2000 degrees, it releases a tail of ions and electrons. The ionized atoms in the plasma tail of meteorites lose energy by emitting photons, making the tail visible to the naked eye from Earth’s surface.

Every year between July 17th and August 24th, Earth passes through cometary remnants. The greatest amount of material is observed between August 10 and 14, with an apogee on the night of August 12 and 13, when in one hour we can see several dozen, sometimes more than 100 “meteors”. NASA expects this year’s spectacle to be the largest since at least 2016, when we witnessed the largest spectacle in 20 years involving hundreds of meteors.

The moment when meteorites burn up in the atmosphere is the most exciting. The phenomenon itself looks like fiery raindrops falling from space, leaving trails called meteors.

You will be able to see up to 100 meteors in one hour. picture. pixabay.

The larger the substance, the harder it is and the longer it burns, the hotter it is. 99.9 percent of the parasiids do not reach the surface of the earth. The largest remaining masses can fall into the atmosphere as a meteorite, although this is rare.

It is estimated that thanks to meteorites, about 300 tons of cosmic matter reach Earth every day, most of it unnoticed, because it is far from inhabited places. So the probability is low, so you don’t have to worry.

When do you watch?

The peak of the phenomenon will occur at night from Saturday to Sunday (12 / 13.08) between 22:00 and 4:00 in the morning. It is enough to look very high above the northeastern horizon, in the climax area. You have to be patient, because sometimes in order to see a meteor you have to stare at the sky for several minutes, barely blinking your eyes. The sky map below should help us with this.

It is best to watch while lying on a blanket on your back and staring at the sky. It takes about 45 minutes for the eyes to get used to the darkness of the sky. In admiring the spectacle this year, we should not be disturbed by the moon, which is approaching the new moon and will rise after midnight. Its brilliance will only dim the less attractive meteors.

What will the weather be like?

In most areas of the country, we expect low and moderate cloud cover. Only locally in the north and in the middle it may become more cloudy and there will be showers.

The best conditions for observation will cover the eastern, southern and central provinces. West and north prevail the least favorable weather.

Check the weather forecast for your city >>>

The temperature in the coldest part of the night ranges between 12-14 degrees in the east and 16-18 degrees in the west. So it will be very cold. For field observations, it is worth putting on something warmer and taking mosquito repellent with you.

Source: MojePogoda.pl / NASA.

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