On the evening of August 12 and the beginning of the day of August 13, the meteor shower of the Perseids will reach its peak. Streaks of light will hover in the sky until at least once a minute. Unfortunately, astronomers may have trouble seeing these shooting stars this year, thanks to the light of our satin moon.
The meteorite shower of the Perseids occurs every August when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet called Swift-Tuttle, a large rock about 26 kilometers (26 miles) that gravitates around the Sun. As Swift-Tuttle roams the space, the Sun warms the icy comet, causing the flight of several loose materials like pebbles and dust. These debris form a cloud all along the Swift-Tuttle orbital path around the sun. The Earth travels through this cloud at the same time every year, resulting in a bombardment of debris that can reach speeds of 25,000 to 100,000 miles by the hour.
These tiny meteors pose no threat to us on Earth. They are so small – the size of a sand or a rice – and they arrive so fast that they burn completely while crossing the thick atmosphere around our planet. "They reached the upper atmosphere and suddenly, they cross gas, they heat under the effect of friction, and then they shine," says Michelle Thaller, astronomer and researcher at the Goddard Spaceflight Center NASA. The edge. "And so you get those wonderful streaks of light." Trails get their name from the fact that they seem to come from the constellation Perseus as they crisscross the sky.
On the night of August 12, the Earth crosses the densest part of the Swift-Tuttle debris cloud, leading to the most frequent rays of light. But this year, there are only a few days left until the Full Moon. Our lunar neighbor is almost completely illuminated. This means that the sky is very bright with the light reflected by the moon, which will make the meteors of the Perseids more difficult to see. "We do not expect a kind of unique space in life," Oh my God, the sky will be full of shooting stars "(event)," says Thaller. "It will not be like that."
That does not mean you have to stay completely indoors, said Thaller, because some meteors will be bright enough to go beyond the moonlight. And if this year's event proves to be a real failure, there will always be next year. The Perseids occur at the same time each year and in 2020, the moon will be much less brilliant. So, if the moonlight goes out tonight, come back next year to try again.