You’re probably all looking forward to the next August meteor shower, right? Join the Hanoi Astronomical Society (HAS) to learn the details of this expected astronomical event.
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most impressive meteor shows of the year and is always sought after. The Perseids are created when Earth passes through icy debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle as it approached Earth in 1992.
A Perseid meteor and the Milky Way – Jens Hackmann.
The Perseid meteor shower peaks each year around August 12 and 13. The number of meteors per hour can reach 150 to 200 in years without a moon (2016 is an example).
On average, you can see 100 meteors per hour during the Perseid peak, according to NASA.
A Perseid meteorite (when in space) typically travels at a speed of about 200,000 km/h upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere (called a meteor). Most Perseid meteors are small and therefore leave no remains on the ground. If they do, they are called “meteorites.”
Perseid meteors are hot objects, reaching over 1,650 degrees Celsius as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, simultaneously compressing and heating the air in front of them. Most meteors will be visible at about 97 kilometers.
Comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered independently by two astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle in 1862. The last time it visited Earth was in 1992, but it was quite faint when observed at naked eye. The next visit, in 2126, will likely be as bright as comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.
Comet Swift-Tuttle is known to be the largest object that periodically passes near Earth, its core is approximately 26 km wide.
Photo: Meteors emitted by the constellation of Perseus in 2018 – Petr Horálek.
Meteor showers are named after the constellation the meteors come from. Observed from Earth, Perseid meteors appear directly from the constellation Perseus.
It’s in the northern hemisphere that you can best see the Perseid meteor shower. All you need is a dark space, a quiet place and patience.
Difference between the number of meteors affected by light pollution – Tomas Slovinsky (Slovakia) & Petr Horalek.
To search for the Perseids, the ideal location from which the meteor appears is called the “stimulus point.” According to NASA, the starting point of the Perseid meteor shower would be the constellation Perseus. Since it is not easy to find this constellation, you can count on brighter and more visible constellations like Cassiopeia. Although meteor showers get their name from the constellation they come from, the constellation is not the source.
The best way to view the Perseid meteor shower is to choose a dark, quiet, airy space. You don’t need to use any tools like a telescope or binoculars, just choose the ideal space and let your eyes adjust for about 30 minutes in the dark.
This year’s maximum falls on the night of August 12 and in the morning of August 13. 2023 is an extremely ideal year to view the Perseid meteor shower because the sky is not affected by moonlight. You can observe from the night of the 12th, after the rising of the constellation Perseus in the Northeast.
A fireball of the Perseids and the Milky Way captured by Miguel Claro.
Tips for viewing the Perseid meteor shower in Vietnam
In Vietnam, you can watch this beautiful meteor shower in suburban areas, ideally in mountainous areas as there is no light pollution, open space and gives you a wide field of view.
You should lie down and observe instead of sitting or standing, because in lying position we can catch the whole Perseid meteor. Plus, August is the perfect time to admire the sparkling Milky Way.
If possible, invite friends or relatives, prepare snacks and a cup of hot coffee to make the observation session as complete as possible. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before leaving to get the best plans.
Finally, if you like astrophotography, prepare photographic equipment such as lenses, cameras and tripods, and learn in advance how to take photos of meteor showers to capture the most beautiful moments.
I wish you a successful observation session.