Sum­mer ME­TE­ORS

BEST TIME TO SEE: From 23 July to mid-Au­gust

Sky at Night Magazine - - THE BIG THREE -

The pe­riod from the third week of July un­til the end of Au­gust is an ex­cel­lent time to look for me­te­ors. The rea­son is mostly down to the Per­seid me­teor shower reach­ing its peak around 13 Au­gust. This event re­li­ably pro­duces good me­teor rates at a time when it’s not too chilly out­side.

How­ever, not ev­ery year is ideal. For years when the Moon is in the sky around the peak, the num­ber of me­te­ors seen vis­ually will fall. The reduction is quite dra­matic with typ­i­cally only the bright­est trails be­ing vis­i­ble. Cam­eras are also af­fected but not as se­verely. As long as your ex­po­sure doesn’t al­low the sky to over­sat­u­rate to white, any trails recorded should still be re­cov­er­able us­ing a graph­ics edi­tor to tweak the im­age’s lev­els.

The Moon is full dur­ing the morn­ing of 15 Au­gust but also quite low in the sky. On the morn­ing of 11 Au­gust, the 81%-lit wax­ing gib­bous Moon sets around 01:30 BST (00:30 UT), pro­vid­ing a cou­ple of dark hours to look out for Per­seids. On the

morn­ing of 12 Au­gust the now 88%-lit wax­ing cres­cent Moon sets around 02:20 BST (01:20 UT) pro­vid­ing a win­dow of around 70 min­utes. On 13 Au­gust, the 94%-lit wax­ing gib­bous Moon sets around 03:15 BST (02:15 UT), just be­fore the on­set of se­ri­ous twi­light.

The Per­seid max­i­mum is ex­pected to oc­cur be­tween 03:00 BST (02:00 UT) and

16:00 BST (15:00 UT) on 13 Au­gust. This year there­fore favours the run up to max­i­mum which starts on 23 July when Per­seid rates are very low. How­ever, in ad­di­tion to the Per­seids, there are a lot of other less ac­tive show­ers in op­er­a­tion which means that the pe­riod of dark­ness from the third week of -XO\ LQWR WKH UVW ZHHN RI $XJXVW LV DQ LGHDO time to look out for sum­mer me­te­ors.

From late July the Per­seid me­teor ra­di­ant moves from Cas­siopeia to Camelopard­alis

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