The Perseids is one of the most spectacular nature events due to the size of the meteors that enter the atmosphere.
The astronomical calendar of August is special among all the other months because year after year it is responsible for flooding the sky with hundreds of shooting stars. At the beginning of the month, the Delta Aquarids are observed in the sky, but later in mid-August, the cosmos floods us with meteors thanks to the Perseids, the biggest star shower of all, and this is everything you need to know to observe it.
When are the Perseids in 2022?
Also known as the Tears of St. Lawrence, the Perseids are by far the favorite of lovers of the cosmos since in addition to generating hundreds of meteors per hour, it also have the brightest shooting stars of all. And although this August 2022 we will not be able to observe it in its maximum splendor due to the full moon, it will give us moments to connect with the Universe.
The Perseids runs annually from July 14 to September 1, however, they have a span of days where they show their maximum activity. This 2022 the shower will have its peak between the night of August 12 and the dawn of August 13, when the constellation of Perseus, from which it takes its name, rises in the zenith of the sky.
The best meteor shower of the year
The Tears of St. Lawrence are considered the biggest shower of the year, not because they have the highest Zenithal Hourly Rate (THZ), which is the number of meteors per hour, but because they leave the brightest flashes. Their meteors often leave long trails of light and color as they streak across the sky, a characteristic that no other meteor shower possesses.
And in terms of THZ, they are not far behind the Geminids, which are the most abundant shower of the year. During the Perseids, up to 100 meteors per hour can be observed, which is a very high number.
How to watch the Perseids
This August 2022 the Perseids will not be able to be admired at their most optimal activity, as their peak coincides with the Sturgeon Supermoon that will enter at 1:36 UTC on August 12. Throughout the night, its intense brightness will eclipse a few meteors, however, there is still the possibility that some flashes can be admired crossing the sky.
To admire the star shower this year especially, it is recommended to turn to the sky days before the highest peak, since as the highest day approaches, the Moon will grow in brightness. Therefore it will be better to look at the sky on the first days of August in the early morning before sunrise, this way you will be able to catch some shooting stars in the sky.
Keep in mind that the Tears of St. Lawrence get stronger in number as the night deepens, so it will be better to watch the sky a few hours before dawn than to stay awake during the early morning hours.
The radiant in Perseus
All meteor showers have a radiant from which meteors seem to stream and the Perseids are no exception. The shower takes its name from the constellation Perseus, as it appears that it is from this point that the stars are born and move across the sky. This is because it is the point where the Earth intersects the orbit of debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which is responsible for this beautiful phenomenon.
To find the radiant in the constellation Perseus you can help yourself with the image below. Look to the east where you can see the constellation Orion at 4:00 CT and above it Taurus. Then look a little to the north and you will find Perseus.
It is not necessary to locate Perseus to admire the star shower, as the meteors will shine across the entire celestial vault. However, the constellation will help you find the radiant from where the lights seem to shoot out in all directions.
As with all meteor showers, it is recommended to stay away from any artificial light pollution and find a place with optimal dark conditions. Plan your date with the cosmos a few days in advance to enjoy the event.
It is also advisable to stop watching artificial light screens for at least 30 minutes before turning to the sky. This way, it will be easier for your eyes to get used to the darkness and be able to capture the meteors crossing the celestial vault.
Story originally published in Ecoosfera