Thursday night a lot of “starlight” to see

Falling stars are flashes of light that sometimes appear in the starry sky. However, the flashes have nothing to do with the stars. They are caused by space debris, often no larger than a grain of sand, that ends up in Earth’s atmosphere 100 kilometers above our heads. Due to high velocities, the air in front of these granules is compressed, heated and made to glow, which we see as a flash. Perseids are distinguished by their brightness, high speed, and occasional glare.

The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus, which is where the towering stars seem to come from. This constellation is high above our northeastern horizon at night. The meteor shower is formed from the debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle. As the Earth in its orbit around the sun moves through the cloud of debris, we see this meteor on about the same date every year. The first Perseids of the year were already spotted on August 3.

Perseid’s squadron is more fit than average this year. According to Van der Sluys, this is because the maximum occurs only two hours before the optimal time in the morning, and because the moon is barely lit, so it does not disturb. On average, this happens once every ten years. The last time astronomical conditions were favorable was in 1997; Next time in eight years. No special equipment is needed to observe the meteors themselves; The naked eye suffices, a clear sky and a dark observation post.

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