Tonight, the maximum activity of the Perseid swarm is being marked. This is an opportunity to observe numerous “shooting stars”. During this time, astronomical picnics and demonstrations are organized in different parts of the country.
There are quite a few meteor swarms active during the summer. The most intense of them – Perseids – derives its name from the Perseus constellation, in which the radiant of these objects is located at the maximum of activity (a radiant is a point from which meteors of a given swarm seem to run out).
Perseids fall in groups of several or a dozen meteors for several minutes. The swarm has been known since ancient times, and we now know that it is related to comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 24, but their maximum occurs on the night of August 12-13. The time around the Perseid maximum is commonly called the nights of shooting stars. In case of this swarm at its maximum, it is possible to count even 110 meteors per hour.
Various institutions and organisations traditionally prepare astronomy picnics, sky shows and lectures. It is worth checking if such meetings are planned in the nearest area and what are the conditions of participation.
For example, the Gdańsk Hevelianum invites you to the Góra Gradowa on 12 August between 20:00 and 24:00, admission is free. In addition to joint meteor observations, other astronomical shows, workshops on building rotating sky maps, a cinema under the stars and a fire-dancer theatre are also planned.
For six years Perseids can be observed in Piekary Slaskie. – On August 12 at 8 p.m., the traditional Piekary Śląskie Night of Falling Stars will be held at Liberation Mound. The programme of the event includes a presentation by Bartosz Wojczyński, an astrophotographer from Piekary, performances by Majorettes and a mobile planetarium.