Get ready sky watchers, the Perseids are coming! The bright and mighty meteor showers, known as the Perseids, are all set to light up the night sky with their flickers of bright light. The name comes from the constellation they seem to originate from – Perseus.
The Peak of the Shower: Timing
The peak of the shower falls on the nights of 11/12th of August (tomorrow night). The peak, being a slightly broad one, will also cross into the 13th. The showers will last till the 24th of the month, but if you miss the peak, there is no point in hunting out the faint trails later on. Simple advice: Don’t miss it tomorrow!
The showers will be visible through the night. You might want to catch up with them late evening and spend your time with them till night falls. The late moonrise will help ramp up the grandeur of the spectacle.
The moon rises at about 1:30 AM on these two days and by the time the moon reaches anywhere near the zenith, it will be nearly predawn and you’d already be feeling sleepy. The moonrise on the 13th of the month happens at about 2:30 AM and, by that time, the peak of the shower will already have passed. Moreover, the bright planet, Venus and Jupiter, will be close to the moon, so they won’t spoil your view either.
The Origin of the Perseids
The Perseids happen because of the comet Swift-Tuttle. Meteor showers happen when the Earth passes through a path of debris left behind by a comet which has just passed through that region. The debris then fall through the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up in the process and creating the brilliant flickers that we see.
Now, of course, as the years go by, the intensity decreases, because the comet’s orbital period around the sun is way longer than the Earth’s. The next time Swift-Tuttle visits out neck of the woods, it will be in the year 2126. Don’t try to hold your breath that long.
Location Location Location
Choose a location away from the city, if you can. The lesser the light around you and the lesser the fog/smoke in the surrounding atmosphere, the better it is. Of course, all of this means that the nights will get really chilly. Make sure you have a proper blanket, coat and mattress. Spraining your neck is not such a great idea, and thus, reclining against a soft is definitely a good idea.
The shutterbugs will definitely want to get their shots and it will be a good idea to go for long-exposure shots. Patience to make multiple attempts is the key; photo contrast is king!
Happy shooting star gazing!