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The Moon and the weather wish the Perseids this year.  What is the best way to see them?

The Moon and the weather wish the Perseids this year. What is the best way to see them?

You don’t need any equipment to see a meteor shower. All you have to do is choose two basic things: the right time and place.

As for the first of the mentioned factors, the most opportune moment comes at night from Thursday to Friday, that is, at night the maximum when the meteors fall the most. Friday morning hours will be the best, between midnight and 4 o’clock in good weather there should be up to 80 meteors per hour with the naked eye. But if you want to enjoy the swarm and you just don’t have time, don’t despair, it will take you many more days. The first meteors could be seen from July 17 and the last one will shine in the sky until August 24.

Tonight, the weather should be good for viewing conditions. The list of reports was confirmed by meteorologists from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. According to his forecast, the clouds will appear in the night sky, but they will be high, which means that they should be thin enough to be seen through it. In the next few days, the clouds should increase.

On the night of the maximum, this year the Moon is in the narrow crescent phase and around 10:30 it will fully set, so it will not disturb the show in the sky with its own light. According to astronomer and photographer Petr Horálek, whose images were repeatedly chosen by NASA for a photo of the day, thanks to which even the weakest meteors will be seen. However, this only applies if you are looking at the sky from a place where there is not much light pollution, that is, at least a few tens (ideally hundreds) of kilometers from big cities.

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The light pollution map shows where the night sky is best seen:


Map of light pollution in the Czech Republic.

Last year’s cooperation between Petr Horálek and Slovakian astronomy popularizer Tomáš Slovinský, who was chosen by NASA earlier this week as the photo of the day as the first Czech-Slovak act in history, also points to the problem of the Light pollution. through photographs of the Perseids. On the left, in a Slovenian photo taken in the Dark Sky Park in Poloniny, according to the Astronomical Institute of the ASCR, around 1,000 more stars and a third more meteors can be seen than in the photograph of Horálek taken over the dam of Seč, where the conditions for observing the night sky are less favorable.

Photo: Tomas Slovinsky (Slovakia) and Petr Horálek (Czech Republic; Opava Physics Institute)

“Perseus and the Lost Meteorites”.

If you want to see the Perseids and don’t plan to leave the city for it, hoping that you will see at least something, according to Pavel Suchan of the ASCR Astronomical Institute, it can easily happen that you see almost nothing. “Light pollution bothers the observation of the sky by the principle that it illuminates it and, due to the lower contrast, the fainter objects are not visible in it. When you choose to observe the Perseids from Prague, for example, you will really only see the brightest meteorites. Let’s say that outside of the frequency that one can normally watch, that is, 80 per hour, five of them will watch, for example, ”Suchan explained to the News.

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An alternative for city people are, of course, the observatories, for example in Prague today you can watch the sky at the Štefánik Observatory. For an annotated observation of the Perseids, astronomers invite Ondřejov to Central Bohemia to a “radar meadow” there.

What are the Perseids?

Before it gets dark and the show begins, it is not necessary to remind ourselves what we will be seeing.

The luminous lines in the sky come from the periodic comet 109P Swift-Tuttle, which appears on the Sun every 134 years (most recently in 1992). The Perseids that remind us of a comet each year are nothing more than its dust. Its particles, generally smaller than a grain of sand, enter the atmosphere at a speed of 59 kilometers per second and evaporate during flight. They shine at an altitude of about 120 km above the earth’s surface and the largest disappear below the 80 km limit above the earth.

The name of the swarm is derived from the constellation Perseus, because they have their radiant in it, which means that they appear to come from it. Roji is also called “Tears of San Lorenzo”. The connection to the saint was allegedly due to the fact that people noticed the swarms after he was tortured on August 10, 258.