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Perseids meteor shower coincides with full moon

labeled perseids

This summer’s Perseids meteor shower is set to be a feast for stargazers as it coincides with a full moon, according to astrophysicist Chrysanthos Fakas.

He said that the peak viewing period will be on August 12 – a Friday – with the ideal time being after 11pm.

Fakas told the Cyprus News Agency that the shower started on July 17 and is expected to last until August 24.

But for the peak viewing period, on August 12, Fakas urged the public to attend a free event hosted by the Astronomical Society (Astrek).

The event will take place at the refreshingly cool village of Kyperounda, in the courtyard of Ayios Arsenios church, between 9pm-11pm.

Annually, starting from mid-July, earth starts to pass through the stream of the remnants of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which is made up of space particles/debris and spans more than 15 million kilometres. Crossing our solar system and approaching earth every 133 years, this comet is the source of perhaps the most remarkable meteor shower on earth: The ‘Perseids’.

The reason this particular shower is called ‘Perseids’ is because the point from which it appears to hail from, which is called the ‘radiant’, lies in the constellation Perseus.

The ‘Perseids’ meteors are small pieces of interplanetary material that come from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. When they enter the earth’s atmosphere, the friction they encounter causes the material to burn and break apart within seconds while travelling at enormous speeds.

Sometimes, you get an amount of this material that is big enough to withstand this fiction and reach the earth’s surface before it fully breaks apart. These are called ‘meteorites. The brightest of these shooting stars that almost seem to tear the night sky apart are called ‘fireballs’.

 

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