Spotlight on the sky in summer |
Star meteor fireworks tonight!
For astronomy lovers there’s a highlight of the summer sky in August: the Perseids meteor fireworks.
The problem this year: At about the same time as the maximum meteor shower, there is a large, bright giant moon in the sky. It outperforms cosmic searchlights like a big spotlight. This is why the best chance of spotting towering stars is at the beginning of the month.
As the August nights get darker again and the time of eternal twilight is also approaching in northern Germany, there are already good conditions for observing the shooting stars.
Professor Thomas W. Kraube, astrophysicist and director of Hamburg Planetarium. “The timing could not be worse, because in the morning hours of August 12, our satellite is in the sky as a full moon. And because it is close to the Earth, it is very large and bright.”
The August full moon is the last in a series of four supermoons that began in May. Full moons that occur near the Earth are called supermoons. In astronomy, the term perigee is used when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around our planet. While in July there were just under ten hours between perigee and the moon, in August it was already about 32.5 hours.
“However, this full moon appears larger and brighter than usual. Professor Karrubi explains that a full moon close to Earth can be up to 17 percent larger than farther away.” To illustrate the difference, an even euro coin can be compared to a single euro coin. It can also be up to 30 percent brighter than the farthest brightness – which is very unfavorable for observing falling stars. “
Those who are interested play in the cards indicating that the visible point of radiation and naming it from the Perseids is in the constellation Perseus. This is highest in the sky only after midnight, which is when the most falling stars appear.
The best chances are on the night of August 7th
On the night of August 6-7, the moon sets at midnight. Therefore, until dawn, night owls have a promising chance of spotting falling stars. “It is important to go to a dark place away from the city lights and give your eyes a good 20 minutes to get used to the lighting conditions at night,” continues Professor Krupp.
The time window for seeing the Perseids is getting smaller and smaller. Already on August 8, the moon does not set until about 12:30 in the morning, on August 9 it is 1:20 in the morning, and on August 10 it is at 2:30 in the morning. Dawn begins around 3:30 a.m. – these are approximate times for the Hamburg region. If you want to spot a few Perseids, use today’s night or tomorrow night.
Prof. Krube adds: “Persechus burn particles from Comet Swift-Tuttle, which crosses the Earth’s ‘dust particle junction’ every year in August.” “They collide with Earth’s atmosphere and burn 70 to 100 kilometers above our heads to form cosmic trails that we know as shooting stars.” (Robb, Hamburg Planetarium)
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