Many stars will light up the sky tonight. The Perseid meteor shower is approaching Earth today. Shooting stars can be seen in Vienna between 10 pm and 4 am. But there is more to see outside the city.
The Perseids are the most famous of the meteor showers in our latitudes. Always in mid-August, Earth crosses the orbit of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, whose dust trail produces a shower of shooting star Perseid. For us, that means the chance to see hundreds of shooting stars in one night.
Viennese meteorologist Kevin Heppenstreet explains this phenomenon: “In principle, this is nothing more than dust from a meteorite flying across the Earth at a speed of 60 kilometers per second.” These dust particles then enter the atmosphere and evaporate in large numbers. . “This causes the air behind them to glow, which we then perceive as a shooting star,” Heppenstreet continues.
Peak on a clear day
The constellation will rise in the northeast late at night and climb into the eastern half of the sky at dawn. It peaks at midnight when the sky is clear. Since the Moon gives off very little light right now, the Perseids are especially visible today. The less light pollution, the more shooting stars can be seen.
If you want to see lots of shooting stars, Heppenstreet recommends driving out of town. Because in the middle of the city, only a few shooting stars are seen every hour. In the suburbs, it is already possible to see 20 shooting stars per hour. “On Earth, up to 50 people can be seen every hour, about one per minute,” says the meteorologist enthusiastically.
If you want to see the scene in Vienna, you must go to a place where there is little or no artificial light. Hikes such as Kahlenberg and Cobenzl on Hermannskogel or Leopoldsberg are well suited. At the Urania Observatory and the Otakringer Kovner Observatory, shooting stars can even be observed with a telescope. As part of an in-depth companion program, both observatories will provide information about the annually recurring meteor stream daily from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. through Aug. 13.
The name “Perseids” comes from the constellation Perseus. The meteor shower is so named because it appears as if hundreds of stars are falling from the constellation. Since their appearance coincides with the name day of the Martyr Laurentius on August 10, the Perseids are also known as the “Tears of Laurentius”. They were interpreted as tears from heaven over his martyrdom.
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