Spectacular meteor showers to light up the sky

2015-08-08 11:26

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - The Perseid meteor shower - an annual display of natural fireworks - should be particularly spectacular this year, with extra-dark skies expected to create optimal stargazing conditions, astronomers said on Friday.

When the celestial show hits its peak overnight Wednesday next week, up to 100 shooting stars per hour will streak across the sky for a spectacle visible around the globe.

In a lucky development, the Moon's glow will not interfere with meteor-watching, as it will be approaching its darkest or "new" phase, experts say.

"It's going to be a spectacular show this year," astronomer Morgan Hollis of the Royal Astronomical Society told AFP. "You'll be able to a see a lot more than normal."

The mid-July to mid-August light show comes from the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle, which swings around the Solar System every 130 years or so, depositing debris in Earth's orbit as it nears the Sun.

As Earth races around the Sun, these grains smash into the atmosphere at about 60km per second, burning up in flashes of light.

Occasionally, longer and brighter streaks are seen, from pea- or marble-sized comet remnants.

The showers - named after the constellation of Perseus from which they appear to fly out - peak when Earth passes through the heart of the debris field.

The Perseids are also known as the "tears of St. Lawrence" in honour of a martyred Christian saint. He was an early deacon, Laurentius, tortured to death by the Romans in AD 258, and whose saint's day of August 10 coincides with the Perseids build-up.

Unlike some celestial events, one doesn't need special technology to watch the Perseids unfold. It is best to find a wide open space away from tall buildings or trees, and with as little artificial light as possible.

"The more of the sky you can see the better," said astronomer Affelia Wibisono from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. "You don't need any binoculars or telescopes. It's actually better if you use your eyes."

The only equipment she suggested was a nice comfy chair from which to watch the show, and some warm clothes.

Read more on:    space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.