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    The morning of Saturday 13 August will mark the “Night of Shooting Stars”

    This year’s Perseid meteor shower, or “night of shooting stars”, will fall on Saturday 13 August in the morning. Astronomical picnics are organised at this time in various places in Poland. The Perseids can be observed in lesser intensity already earlier.

    The activity of the Perseid shower extends over a much longer period, from mid-July to 24 August. Other meteor showers are also visible in summer.

     

    Astronomers point out that this year the conditions for Perseid observations will not be favourable, as the full moon occurs on 12 August. Its brightness will definitely limit the number of shooting stars we will be able to see. Meanwhile, under ideal conditions at the maximum, it is possible to see up to about 100 meteors per hour, but this year we will only see the brightest ones.

     

    You don’t need telescopes or binoculars to observe meteors; all you need is the naked eye. It is best to choose a spot from which you can see a large area of the sky, in a place where the lamps do not shine into your eyes (in this case, the darker the area, the better).

     

    The Perseids’ radiant, the point from which they appear to run out if we were to extend their paths across the sky, will be in the constellation Perseus. However, these objects ‘diverge’ across the sky, and it is best to look a few tens of degrees to the radiant – rather than at the radiant itself. We also do not have to get up in the morning at the moment of the peak of the meteor shower, as we can look out for Perseids at any time of the night, as well as during the neighbouring nights around the peak.

     

    Perseids have been known since ancient times. They are fast meteors, leaving traces in the sky for a short time. They can fall in bunches of 6-15 meteors in a few minutes. Their radiant shifts during meteor shower peak between the constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus and Camelopardalis. During the peak, it is located in Perseus. The 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet is associated with the meteor shower.

     

    Meteors, commonly known as shooting stars, are luminous phenomena produced by the passage through the atmosphere of rocky particles that have come to us from space and are called meteoroids. The vast majority of them are destroyed in the atmosphere. Extremely bright meteors are called bolides, and if a rock that has flown into the atmosphere has managed to survive and reach the Earth’s surface, we will be dealing with a meteorite.

     

    When looking out for meteors, you can try to find the bright planets in the sky. From 12 to 14 August, the Moon will move between Saturn and Jupiter, creating an interesting sight over the south-eastern horizon from around 10 pm (in the later hours of the night these objects will be visible higher in the sky). The bright light to the left of the Moon is the planet Jupiter, and the slightly fainter ‘light’ to the right is Saturn. Mars also rises in the second half of the night, and before sunrise, we may see Venus.

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